The AJC Cup began in 1927 and is one of the oldest news organization award programs in the country so it comes with a great history and heritage. This prestigious award honors very special high school graduates. Each student was selected as the best all-around senior by their school’s faculty and administration based on academic achievement, leadership, community service and extra-curricular involvement. This award recognizes their hard work, focus and commitment.

Celebrating our communities’ high school graduates takes on even more significance this year. Although these outstanding students were not able to receive their trophy in front of their peers, teachers and family at graduation ceremonies, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wanted to make sure they got the recognition they so richly deserved.

2020 AJC Cup Winners

Valedictorian videos

This year, because of the coronavirus outbreak, most schools have either delayed, canceled or moved their graduations to virtual ceremonies. Missing the traditions that come with graduation are hard for all seniors and their families - and especially for the valedictorians who worked so hard for four years and are not going to be able to stand up and give their planned speeches.

In recognition of both their hard work and these trying times, the AJC reached out to students and administrators across metro Atlanta and invited valedictorians to submit a video of their speech to publish on AJC.com. Please join us in congratulating all of these valedictorians for their impressive achievement and inspiring speeches.

Other metro valedictorians

2020 AJC Cup FAQs

Q: What is the AJC Cup?

A: The AJC Cup began in 1927 and is one of the oldest news organization award programs in the country. This prestigious award honors one individual, chosen by your school’s faculty and administration, who best represents academic excellence, leadership, community service and extra-curricular involvement. A trophy is provided to you to present at your year-end awards ceremony or program. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also recognizes each winner in the newspaper and on AJC.com.

Q: How are students selected?

A: The winner from each school is chosen by the school’s faculty and administration, who best represents academic excellence, leadership, community service and extra-curricular involvement. The AJC is not involved in the selection process but is provided the student’s information by a member of the school administration – principal, guidance counselor, etc.

Q: What schools are eligible to participate?

A: Over 200 public and private high schools in metro Atlanta (Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett) are contacted by the AJC in early March by email and letter and invited to submit an honoree. In addition, there are number of schools outside the metro Atlanta area that are “grandfathered” into the program.

Q: Is there any cost to the school to participate?

A: No. The AJC covers the cost of the trophy and shipping.

Q: Where do I submit our high school’s honoree information?

A: At this time, submissions are closed until 2021.

Q: What information is required for my school to submit?

A: The online form guides you through a list of questions. The form requires you to submit a brief description of the student’s accomplishments that can be used by the AJC for news coverage. Please note the form has changed slightly from prior years. We are interested in knowing more about the student and what makes their story and accomplishments inspiring to others.

Q: Do I need to submit a photo?

A: Yes. We are also asking you to submit a head shot photo of the winner that we may also use for news coverage. We highly recommend their senior class photo. Please submit in a jpg format. You should upload this at the time you submit your winner’s information.

Q: What is the deadline for submission?

A: The submission deadline was in May.

Q: How is a student’s information used by the AJC?

A: The AJC recognizes these students publicly and the information submitted by the school (accomplishments, photo, etc.) are used to create the lists and stories. The AJC does not collect or publish personal contact information or share or sell school or student information with any third party.

Q: How do I know if the submission was received?

A: The school official who submitted the submission will receive an automatic confirmation message immediately after submission. For any other inquiries, send an email to AJCCup@ajc.com.

Q: Are parents/guardians of the winning students notified in advance their child has been chosen for this honor?

A: That is a decision made by each school. The AJC does not contact the student’s family directly.

Q: Is there a scholarship associated with the AJC Cup?

A: No. The AJC Cup serves as a special recognition of the student’s character and accomplishments, but there is no financial award.

Q: Why does my school not have a winner?

A: We contact all eligible high schools in metro Atlanta by both email and by letter inviting them to participate. If schools do not provide the AJC with winner information by the deadline, they are not included due to production and publication deadlines. In some cases, there are schools that meet the requirements but do not respond to our requests with an honoree.

Q: When will my school receive the trophy?

A: Trophies are sent directly from Suburban Custom Awards. Please note the trophies are shipped FedEx so we must have a physical address, not a PO Box, to ensure delivery. Given the current circumstances, we can have the trophy sent directly to the student, faculty member or it can be picked up at Suburban Trophy in Decatur. Please note that direct pick up is only an option when prior arrangements are made directly with the AJC Cup coordinator. Refer to the important message at the top of the page for more details regarding submission deadlines and the current circumstances.

Q: How does the student receive their trophy?

A: Each school is responsible for presenting the AJC Cup to its selected student. The presentation process is at the discretion of each school.

Q: Who can I contact with any additional questions?

A: You can send inquiries to AJCCup@ajc.com.