SHS senior Graves to receive Georgia Youth Leadership Award
Sonoraville senior John Graves has been selected as one of 20 high school students in the state to receive the Georgia Youth Leadership Award.
While in high school, Graves founded a non-profit, co-founded a tech start-up and has held many leadership positions within school government and extracurricular activities. While serving in many leadership capacities, he has also maintained a 4.0 grade point average and excelled in athletics.
Graves founded Players for Life, a non-profit with the mission of removing financial barriers that prevent underprivileged children from participating in recreational sports activities. To date, Players for Life has raised almost $1000 for sports equipment and registration fees. Nearly 50 children in Northwest Georgia have been served by the organization.
He is also co-founder of a joint African-US technology start-up. The company allows restaurants to give coupons and discounts in exchange for consumer data and allows consumers to use their data and the data of others to make informed dining decisions while saving their own money. The app already has an early version available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Additionally, developers in Mumbai, India and Nairobi, Kenya have recently purchased portions of the company. Graves serves as CEO of North American operations, and designed the in-app payments system for the company.
He has thrived in the classroom, serving as both STAR Student for 2018 and Valedictorian of his senior class. As a sophomore, he was selected to participate in the Governor’s Honors Program. GHP is a highly selective program that encourages in-depth, rigorous study for four weeks during the summer. Only one percent of Georgia students are asked to participate in the program. At GHP, Graves majored in Social Studies and minored in Mathematics.
“John is without doubt one of the top students in Georgia,” said Social Studies teacher Dr. Walraven. “His work ethic is unprecedented. He is the type of student who pushes teachers to be on top of their game. His presence in my classroom will be sorely missed, but I am certain he will make a name for himself in the future.”
Georgia Youth Leadership Award winners were selected by a committee consisting of members of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40, 21st Century Leaders Board of Directors, and Georgia business professionals from Mercedes-Benz, Turner, and Georgia Power. Winners will be recognized at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Feb., 24, 2018. Each winner will receive a $250 grant and one winner will receive a $1000 grant.
Graves hopes to attend a top university and major in finance or economics. His ultimate goal is to found a private equity firm that focuses on African tech start-ups.