SHS se­nior Graves to re­ceive Ge­or­gia Youth Lead­er­ship Award

Calhoun Times - - GORDONLIFE - Staff Re­ports

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.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

John Graves

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