7 useful qualities of top Atlanta high school students

Winning scholarships to help pay your way through college isn’t easy. It requires hard work, dedication and a commitment to school. However, there are a few qualities that scholarship winners share that makes the road easier. We looked at this year’s winners of the AJC Cup and found some common traits among those receiving the scholarship.

The AJC Cup is an award that has been awarded to exceptional high school students in the metro Atlanta area since 1927. Click each winner's name to learn more about them. 


Students who win scholarships don’t just memorize facts, they want to learn more about what they’re taught. They want to understand the reasons behind those facts.

Madison Claire Roop, an AJC Cup winner from Creekview High School, was lauded by her school counselor for wanting “to understand the ‘how and why’ and not just get the answer.”

[Read more: 5 award-winning Atlanta students going to Ivy League schools]


Many of the AJC Cup winners were praised for their empathy and compassion for others. Being a great student isn’t just about helping yourself succeed, but in helping others as well.

For example, Victoria Reaid from East Paulding High School was marked as an exemplary student and excellent peer tutor. “Whenever she sees anyone struggling, she always stops what she is working on to help others,” her school-submitted biography says.


Not everyone needs a perfect GPA. Showing experience with sports, especially in a leadership role, is a fantastic way to set a student apart from his or her peers.

Shivani Beall of Paideia School won her AJC Cup in part because of her time in sports. Beall, a captain for the basketball and soccer team, showed tremendous leadership by mentoring junior girls and volunteering as a soccer coach for elementary schoolers.


Good students know what they know. Great students know what they don’t know and are humble.

One example of humility was Stephen J. Blackburn, the AJC Cup winner from Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy. He was praised for having “the heart of a true servant.”


Accomplishing large goals takes determination and willingness to keep working after setbacks. Not giving up is a crucial and common trait among AJC Cup winners.

For example, Shane Burke of Chattahoochee High School earned plaudits for his maturity and grit. “If he is faced with failure, disappointment, or extreme challenges, he just picks himself back up and tries harder,” his biography says.


To accomplish something requires first believing the thing can be accomplished. Many of the AJC Cup winners descriptions noted their positive attitudes and cheerful demeanor.

For the North Clayton High School winner, Ashley Bradley, her attitude was a key foundation to her success. “(Ashley) is a cheerful, high-energy person with an abundance of persistence, determination and compassion for others.”


It’s no surprise that AJC Cup winners, a group selected by teachers at each school, are universally liked and respected by those teachers. They display the kind of discipline and hard work that teachers love to see in their students.

Ruben Tillman of New Manchester High School, has earned the admiration of the school’s faculty. “His behavior is exceptional and he is respected by every teacher in this building,” said school counselor Jen Travis.  

Read more AJC Cup coverage at our hub.

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