Class of 2023 Valedictorians, Salutatorians Announced

2023 valedictorians 2023 Salutatorians

May 23, 2023

The Clarke County School District is pleased to announce the Class of 2023 valedictorians and salutatorians for Cedar Shoals, Clarke Central, and Classic City high schools and commend these students for earning the highest and second-highest grade-point averages in their graduating classes, respectively. 



Valedictorian - Coriander McGreevy

Coriander McGreevy is president of the Cedar Shoals National Honor Society chapter and has enjoyed Outdoor Club, Mural Club, captaining the girls’ tennis team, and the Cedar Shoals Energy Education Team during her time at the school. In addition, she works at the University of Georgia Avian Lab, helps to manage and study local land in conservation at Shoal Creek Sanctuary, and enjoys volunteering with Sandy Creek Nature Center. 

Coriander will continue her education at the University of Georgia with a major in either Fisheries and Wildlife or Biology as a UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Honors Scholar in pursuit of a career in wildlife or medical research.

“Coriander McGreevy is one of the most driven, enthusiastic, and involved students Cedar Shoals High School has seen,” said Monica Quiñones, Coriander’s school counselor. “Coriander values education, community, school leadership, and the environment. She has many admirable personal qualities that allow her to stand out amongst her peers. I could go on and list all of Coriander’s incredible accomplishments, but I would go on forever. I have known Coriander for a short time, but she is truly an impressive person and student. In her time at Cedar Shoals, Coriander has proven that she always strives for ways to challenge herself. I am very proud of Coriander, and I am looking forward to seeing her accomplish her goals and dreams.”

Salutatorian - Ella Johnson 

Ella Johnson is currently president of the Cedar Shoals Student Government Association, vice president of the National Honor Society, and student advisor to the Beta Club. She is very active within the Cedar Shoals community and is a regular participant in the Cedar Readers book club and a longtime cellist in the Cedar Shoals Orchestra. She enjoys volunteering with the Hilsman Middle School Science, Energy, and Adventure Team.

In the fall, Ella will be attending the University of Georgia as a Foundation Fellow in the Morehead Honors College. She plans to pursue her passion for literature by majoring in English and Classics.

“Ella is an extraordinary student with the remarkable qualities of compassion, kindness, and humility, blended with assertiveness,” said Ericka Wade, Ella’s school counselor. “As a true leader, she gracefully embraces her responsibilities, inspiring and uplifting her peers. She is instrumental in leading the Student Government Association and exemplifies authentic leadership, showcasing her intelligence and exceptional problem-solving skills. She is a beacon of inspiration for all aspiring leaders.”

“The Cedar Shoals family is excited to say congratulations and well done to Coriander and Ella!” said Cedar Shoals principal Antonio Derricotte. “Your hard work, disciplined work ethic, and meticulous approach to studying and education are on display. You leave an invaluable stamp of perseverance, leadership, and resilience on the Cedar Shoals community. We wish you well in future endeavors as you conquer new feats in life!”



Valedictorian - Solomon Nackashi

Solomon Nackashi set his intention to be valedictorian in middle school and never wavered from his path. His outstanding academic record led him to dual-enroll at the University of Georgia during his senior year. He was a member of the Clarke Central varsity cross-country team for four years and served as captain for his senior season last fall. He also played soccer for the Gladiators for three years and was a member of the track and field team. Solomon’s valedictorian honor comes with an extra bit of Gladiator pride attached, as his mother, Cori Pringle, is an ESOL teacher at Clarke Central.  

Solomon will be attending the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall and plans to study mechanical engineering.

"In addition to being an outstanding student, Solomon is a kind and thoughtful human being,” said Heidi Nibbelink, Solomon’s school counselor. “He’s been a delight to work with, and I have no doubt he’s going to build a creative and fulfilling future.”

Tyler Graves, Solomon’s school advisor, added: “From my earliest days working with Solomon, it was readily apparent that he was in possession of an extraordinary intellect. However, as intellectually gifted as he clearly is, those who know Solomon are acutely aware of the reality that it is not his academic credentials that define him; rather it is his unimpeachable character and the positive impact he has on those he interacts with that make Solomon the exceptional individual that he is.”

Salutatorian - Natalie Soper

In addition to being a stellar student, Natalie Soper is also treasurer of the school’s Ecology Club and is a member of the Gender Equity Movement, National Honor Society (NHS), a student-led book club, and an equestrian. She has been on the all “A” Honor Roll since her freshman year and continues to excel both academically and in her community, often volunteering with NHS to maintain a clean and safe environment. She is an advocate for students and gender equality. 

Natalie was a 2022 National Merit Finalist and has won numerous awards, accolades, and scholarships. She will be attending the University of Georgia in the UGA Honors Program.

“Natalie is a driven and very compassionate person,” said Darline Coleman, Natalie’s school counselor. “She wants to see change in the world and realizes that change starts with her. So it is no surprise that she has initiated several community-based projects at the school. She is well-liked and respected by both peers and teachers. Job well done Natalie!”

Regina King, Natalie’s school advisor, added: “Natalie has been an enthusiastic learner, a friend, and an inspiration to many of us here at CCHS. She pushed through Covid times during her freshman and sophomore years and continued to excel upon our return to school. Well deserved, Natalie, and may you continue to follow your dreams.”

“Soli and Natalie are both ambassadors who embody all the traits of a Gladiator,” said Dr. Swade Huff, principal of Clarke Central. “To be recognized as valedictorian and salutatorian is an honor and evidence of their intrinsic motivation to excel in the learning environment. On behalf of the Central school community, congratulations, and we wish you well with your transition to the distinguished post-secondary institutions each of you has chosen.”



Valedictorian - Jonathan Gaona

Jonathan Gaona will be attending Athens Technical College and pursuing a certification in welding. 

“Jonathan is a well-mannered, respectable young man who never doubted his ability to be successful,” said Dr. Angelia Major, principal of Classic City High. “Jonathan, always believe in yourself because you are capable and destined for greatness.” 

Jonathan’s senior quote is from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward." 

Salutatorian - Jalayla Rose

Jalayla Rose is the school’s recipient of the 2023 Eve Carson Humanitarian Spirt Award, awarded by the Foundation for Excellence in Public Education in Clarke County, and is a member of the Student Advisory Committee. She will be attending Gordon State College and pursuing a degree in nursing.  

“Jalayla, whom we affectionately call Laylay, has a colorful spirit that is easy to love,” said Dr. Major. “She is fueled with fire to succeed in life. I have no doubt that, whatever her heart desires, she will accomplish.”

Jalayla’s senior quote comes from Michelle Obama: “You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have – because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.”