Seniors are key, but underclassmen to get valuable experience
More than a dozen Carrollton High School swimmers who earned state qualifier status will compete Feb. 1 in the Georgia High School Association state swim meet at Georgia Tech, a historic event for the Trojans, sending the most qualifiers in school history.
This includes three seniors who bring with them experience from competing at the state level before – Canon Meyer, Zeke Ussery and Ella Barden. Canon also was a state finals qualifier last year, while Zeke and Ella competed previously in relays. The other seniors competing this year are Matthew Basil, Mark Johnson and Kaitlin Cappiello. Another senior, Luke Bradley, qualified as an alternate.
The team is also made up of several underclassmen who ensure the Trojan swimming legacy's future looks bright.
"This year we have the largest team of competitors going to state that we've ever had," said Kim Ussery, the Trojans swimming coach. "Our swimmers have done an amazing job at each meet this season, and I'm proud of each of them, whether they made a state cut or they worked to get a personal best by the end of the season. The constant support from the Athletic Booster Club as well as our swim parents has made a huge impact on the success of our swimmers. It's always a privilege to work with this group, and I look forward to cheering on our state competitors this Wednesday."
Ussery said senior Canon Meyer could have competed in most individual events by qualifying in six of the available eight, but because a swimmer can only choose two individual events to compete at state, he chose the 50 Free and 100 Fly. He also will compete in two relay events, the 200 Medley and 400 Medley Free.
Senior Kaitlin Cappiello qualified and will compete in the 100 Back. Sophomore Vito Cappiello qualified in five individual events, but chose the 200 IM and 100 Breast and two relay events. Ryder Griffin, another sophomore, will swim the 500 and 100 Free and two relays. Freshman Ellie Williamson qualified in four individual events, but chose to compete in the 200 and 100 Free.
The girls fielded two relay teams led by the two seniors, Kaitlyn and Ella. Joining them is junior Emma McBride and freshmen Mia Perez and Ellie. Emma Cook, another junior, will be on deck as an alternate.
Swimmers for the boys state relay teams include senior Zeke, who will swim in all three, the 200 and 400 Free and 200 Medley. Seniors Mark Johnson and Matthew Basil will also be a part of the 200 Free. Freshman Miguel Simon-De Feo will join seniors Zeke, Mark and Matthew in the 200 Free Relay.
"Going to the state meet is something we've all worked hard for, and I'm happy to get to do it with this group of incredible swimmers," said Mark. "Making it this far is a culmination of the time and effort that we, as a group, have put into this sport."
Ella is reflective about her experience as a swimmer athlete.
"I am very excited for the state meet, as a member of both girl relays and being on this team all four years of high school,” she said. “We have worked so hard and accomplished so much! Everyone swimming at state has put in the effort and we are all going to try our best. Hopefully the fire alarm won’t go off like it did at state last year, so that will already be a bonus!"
Ussery said over the course of the year the seniors did a good job of using their leadership status for the betterment of the team as a whole.
"They truly mentored their younger teammates, creating a real family atmosphere," said Ussery. "Hopefully the others will do the same when it is their time."
Carrollton High School senior Kate Mills has been named one of more than 5,000 candidates in the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
The candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2023. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.
Kate's high school career checks all the boxes. She takes the most challenging courses, is involved in myriad school activities, including leadership on the student council and service in service organizations outside of school. She even rings the bell every Christmas season for the Salvation Army. She is the daughter of Andrew and Katy Mills of Carrollton.
"Kate is an exceptional young lady who we knew would be an outstanding nominee in the U.S. Senate Youth Program competition," said CHS Principal Ian Lyle. "We are extremely proud of her accomplishment to continue to the next round."
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas: academic success, leadership, and service to school and community. It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields.
Annually, up to 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth. A panel of educators will review these submissions and select approximately 600 semifinalists in early April, another round of review will determine the finalists and will be announced in May.
More than 50 students at Carrollton High School have been named Advanced Placement (AP) scholars by the College Board in recognition of their outstanding performance on the college-level AP exams. Nearly 500 CHS students took AP exams.
Nine students, Edward Camp, Isabelle Esslinger, Andrew Herndon, Jack Huett, Tai Jackson, Caroline Reid, Allie Tribble, Ezekiel Ussery, and Mark Zimmer also earned the AP Scholar with Distinction Award for scoring at least an average of 3.5 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
Five students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are Kaitlin Cappiello, Angelina Capra, Isabel Keller, Edward Kenyon, and Alexander Perkins.
The remaining students Ella Barden, Grace Berquist, Evan Broome, Madelynn Cook, Jaxon Cooper, Sydney Cumby, Karson Davis, Amelia Drummond, Brayden Fordham, Trais Glory, Yanet Gonzalez, Emma Harris, Richard Hollingsworth, John-Everette Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Eden Long, Marisa Lopez, Morgan Loveless, Autumn Martin, Kathleen Mills, Martha Minor, Emma Osborne, Tyler Ou, Taniyah Powell, Porter Price, Austin Rader, Kai Remshagen, Stefan Remshagen, Wright Roenigk, Sarah Scholl, Shannon Sheffield, John Skinner, Caroline Steed, Vanessa Tran, Alexia Walter, and Robert Wilson qualified for the AP Scholar Award for scoring a grade of 3 or higher on three or more exams.
Courtney Walker, assistant principal of curriculum and guidance at CHS, said it is important to make sure students are supported and feel prepared for college.
“Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. By providing them with a wide range of advanced academic offerings, we are able to individualize a student's academic plan based on strengths and future aspirations,” said Walker.
Walker said the guidance department at CHS coordinates with teaching staff and administrators to design academic plans that best prepares students for life beyond high school.
“This includes giving students the chance to tackle college-level work while they are still in high school. AP courses on a high school transcript show colleges they're motivated to succeed. These are some of the definite benefits of students taking AP exams, not to mention the potentialfor earning college credit," she said.
Students take AP exams in May after completing challenging college-level courses at their high school. Most of the nation’s colleges and universities award credit, advanced placement, or both, based on successful performance on the AP exams.
Over the last few years Carrollton High School has gradually increased its AP course subject offerings to today’s total of 18 as part of the school’s focus on increasing the rigor of coursework for college-bound students.