Carrollton High School graduates of the Class of 2021 received $23 million in scholarship offers from colleges and universities. That does not include the HOPE/Zell Miller scholarships, which awarded an additional $1.9 million to 226 CHS honor graduates this year.
The majority of the awards were offered by educational institutions, but there also were private awards presented by individuals and nonprofit entities, including the Carrollton City Schools Education Foundation.
Though many students earned awards for academic success, four graduates were presented $10,000 awards from the REACH Scholarship program for their commitment to focus on academic achievement. Damean Dominguez, Escarlett Hernandez Rodriguez, Contellis Reese and Shania Scarbrough were named REACH Scholars as eighth graders and represent the second group of REACH Scholarship recipients in Carrollton High School history.
Carrollton High School emphasizes a focus on academics, arts and athletics and has produced a mix of scholarship offers that recognize the outcome of this focus. On the academic side, Kate Albertus received $600,000 in scholarship offers while Caitlann and Christen Arant amassed $446,500 each. Albertus is heading to the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Arant twins are going to Mercer University.
There were many athletic scholarship offers, with Trojan football standout Khristian Zachary collecting the bulk with a total offering value of more than $2.3 million. He accepted a scholarship from the University of Georgia. Close behind Zachary was basketball standout De’Mauri Flournoy who received $2 million in basketball scholarships and will be attending Vanderbilt University.. Trojan track standout Grant Briscoe received $1.3 million and committed to the University of Georgia. Another future Bulldog is golf standout LoraLie Cowart who earned $853,076 in golf scholarship offers as well as Chaz Chambliss who accepted a $95,000 scholarship offer to play football.
"These students are the top academic and athletic performers at CHS, but are also well-rounded and multi-talented students involved in many school activities," said CHS Principal Ian Lyle. “I am eager to follow their college journey. I know they will continue to make us proud."
On the last day of school, Issa Saba, second from right, returned for the first time after suffering cardiac arrest in the school’s media center May 10. Because of quick action by Ian Lyle, CHS principal, and Susan Hall, school nurse, and the efforts of many others plus the use of an AED, Issa survived the episode and will return to school in August. From left are Lyle; Hall; Melissa Juarez, Issa’s mother; Cameron Mount, CHS counselor; Issa; and Wymon Kelley, CHS teacher.
Mother: Staff preparation saved my son's life
A routine morning of students hanging out in Carrollton High School’s media center lounge before the start of class suddenly turned into a life-threatening incident for sophomore Issa Saba, but because of quick action by CHS administration, the school nurse, and an AED rushed to the scene, not only was his life spared, he did not suffer any long-term consequences from the event.
Susan Hall, the school nurse at CHS, said that about 8:15 the morning of May 10, she received a call to assist administrators when a student collapsed in Hector’s Hangout, a popular gathering spot for students located in the CHS media center.
“My first thought was he had suffered a seizure,” Hall said. “Then I realized the student was not responding and was not breathing on his own.” She then turned to newly-appointed Principal Ian Lyle who had also rushed to the scene in response.
“I said to Mr. Lyle ‘I'm starting CPR and we need an AED,’” said Hall. An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The sophisticated, easy-to-use, medical device can analyze the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
Hall said it all happened so fast, she’s not even sure who delivered the device.
“When it was delivered, pads were placed on the student,” she said. “Once the AED analyzed and advised a shock, the shock was delivered and Mr. Lyle took over compressions while I administered breaths. This continued for two cycles – I believe – and the student began to move. We paused compressions/breaths, the AED analyzed and did not advise another shock.”
By this time, Hall said, paramedics had arrived on the scene and the student was responding to simple commands. He was transported to Children’s Egleston Hospital/Healthcare of Atlanta for further evaluation and treatment but is now back home recuperating with plans to return to school in August.
“This really was a team effort,” said Hall. “The media center was completely cleared of all students. There were administrators and teachers keeping all traffic out of the courtyard and away from the entrance to the media center.”
Lyle noted all faculty and staff are required to go through annual training to prepare for events like the May 10 incident, but fortunately real-life occurrences are few and far between.
“It is a testament to the CHS faculty and staff for taking this training seriously, and because of that, a CHS student’s life was saved. As Ms. Hall noted, this incident was truly a team effort and I am proud of their professionalism, plus their personal commitment to support the health and safety of our students.”
On the last day of School, May 28, Issa and his mother Melissa Juarez came to CHS to thank Hall and Lyle, in particular, for immediate action that likely saved Issa’s life.
“I'm very grateful to God first. I'm grateful to the school for everything they did to help Issa,” said Juarez. “They were in the perfect place at the perfect time and responded in the perfect way. I am eternally grateful because they saved my son. This is a very serious issue and the school was very well-prepared to help with it. In the hospital (at Egleston) the doctor said, ‘This happened in exactly the right place and time, because the people who responded did an outstanding job and saved his life.’”
Juarez added: "We want to share this with the community because it's very important for everyone to know the importance of being prepared. My son didn't feel anything odd that morning before his incident – he just collapsed without warning. The preparation everyone had done months before was what saved his life."
Craig George, assistant superintendent of Operations for Carrollton City Schools, noted the AED that was used in saving the student’s life was one awarded by Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in 2019.
“The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation focuses on public safety initiatives and we applied for the grant to purchase additional AEDs,” said George. “While we already had AEDs in several locations, we wanted more to ensure easy access to one throughout campus. This purchase truly made all the difference in this student’s outcome and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
“We’re honored to play a small role in this life-saving story,” said Meghan Vargas, director of development for Firehouse Subs Safety Foundation. “Our foundation is committed to ensuring the right equipment is in the right hands at the right time, and that’s exactly what happened on May 10. The grant awarded to Carrollton City Schools for 12 AEDs was made in partnership with CLEAR Coalition, which provides AEDs and critical training to schools and organizations in Georgia. Carrollton City schools are all better prepared in the event of cardiac arrest.”
Overcome with emotion, retired Coach Craig Musselwhite is congratulated by family and colleagues on career achievements that led to the track in Grisham Stadium to be renamed in his honor. The Carrollton Board of Education made the announcement at its June 7 work session.
Maddox-Musselwhite Track now honors two legendary coaches
When the Carrollton High School boys track team captured its 28th state title last month and expanded its lead as the most decorated track program in Georgia history, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the one individual who personally played a part in almost half of those titles – CHS alum and long-time coach, Craig Musselwhite, whose winning “track record” likely will never be broken.
To honor his accomplishments, the Carrollton Board of Education, at its June 7 work session, unveiled plans to rename Maddox Track at Grisham Stadium to Maddox-Musselwhite Track. A dedication ceremony will be held at the first home football game Aug. 20.
The track already honors another Trojan track legacy, Coach Hugh Maddox, who captured five consecutive state titles in track in the 1950s, establishing Carrollton's reputation across Georgia as a track and field powerhouse. In 1956, he also led the Trojans to their first state football title with the help of his assistant, Charlie Grisham. In 1971, the Hugh G. Maddox Track was named in his honor.
But Musselwhite, who retired in 2020, will go down in Carrollton High School athletic history as the coach with the most state championships in one sport as a head coach – eight – plus five more as an assistant coach. The 1985 CHS alum also contributed to two consecutive CHS team titles as a freshman and sophomore in 1982-1983 and captured his own three individual state champion titles in the high jump as a sophomore, junior and senior. For his success as a top prep athlete, he was inducted into the Trojan Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
Board of Education member Gil O’Neal brought forth the idea of honoring Musselwhite in this way earlier this year, and received quick agreement from his fellow board members.
“Craig Musselwhite was an outstanding athlete and coach,” said O’Neal, who had two sons and a nephew go through the track program under Musselwhite’s charge. “He was a good mentor who developed strong relationships with his athletes to produce good men. He simply is a great Trojan.”
While Musselwhite’s coaching prowess is enough to justify the honor, Carrollton City Schools Supt. Dr. Mark Albertus also echoed O’Neal’s sentiment about his contribution as a key mentor.
"Coach Musslewhite has had a profound impact on this community not only with his coaching accomplishments but in positively affecting the lives of hundreds of Carrollton youth, many from difficult backgrounds," said Albertus. "Without recognition or fanfare, Coach worked behind the scenes to help kids navigate the difficult years of adolescence, enabling them to become well-adjusted adults. And this was whether they could run fast or not."
CHS Principal David Brooks also noted Musselwhite has been a successful event coordinator, managing local cross country and track meets plus high-profile events such as the Georgia High School Association annual state cross country championships, held on the Carrollton City Schools campus since 1994.
"Coach Musselwhite’s reputation as an exceptional event coordinator and his success with the cross country championships was instrumental in getting the state track meet to Carrollton," said Brooks.
Following a college career as a track star at Auburn University, Musselwhite returned to the Trojan track program as a student coach for the 1990 season and never looked back. Right out of the blocks, he helped the program bring home another state title that year, followed by two more state championships and a runner-up finish as an assistant coach before assuming the head coaching role in 1994. During this tenure, he accumulated eight more state titles and three additional state runner-up trophies. Between his participation in the program as an athlete and his total years of coaching, Musselwhite’s all-encompassing track record boasts 13 state championships, four runner-up titles, 27 Top Four state finishes, supported by the same number of region titles, over a 35-year Carrollton career. And well before retirement was even a thought in his mind, his body of work drew the attention of the Georgia Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 2010.
Following the surprise presentation of the Maddox-Musselwhite Track renaming, Coach Musselwhite and his family pose for a group picture to document the achievement. At top right is Eric Simmons, now an assistant principal at Carrollton Upper Elementary School, who ran track for Musselwhite in the early 2000s. Musselwhite's guidance helped Simmons continue his prep career at the next level.