Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


The Class of 2024: Catholic schools honor top graduates 

By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF | Published June 2, 2024

ATLANTA—The Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta honored their 2024 valedictorians and salutatorians at graduation ceremonies this month.  

Blessed Trinity High School’s honor graduates are Claire Petersen and Jack Hicks. Valedictorian Claire Petersen is the daughter of Jeff and Sheila Petersen. The family worships at St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell. She will attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Blessed Trinity’s salutatorian is Jack Hicks, son of Doug and Leticia Hicks. They attend St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek. Hicks will be enrolled at Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School’s honor graduates are Gracy Wah and Ashley Nicole Ortiz-Barrera. Valedictorian Gracy Wah and her parents, Wah Say and Ler Paw, are members of Northlake Church of Christ. She will attend California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to study biological engineering. Salutatorian Ashley Nicole Ortiz-Barrera is a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville. Her parents are Hector Ortiz and Rocio Barrera. Ortiz-Barrera will attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, to study psychology and neuroscience. 

The honor graduates of Holy Spirit Preparatory School are Alexia Riley and Marlyn Pineda. Valedictorian Alexia Riley is a parishioner of Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta. She is the daughter of Christopher Riley and Christian Riley. This fall, she will be enrolled in the Honors College at Auburn University to study chemical engineering. Salutatorian Marlyn Pineda also attends Holy Spirit Church. Her parents are Nicolas Pineda and Karla Cuyan. She will study biology at Kennesaw State University. 

Marist School’s top scholars are Alec Issa and Brennan Ujda. Alec Issa is the school’s valedictorian. He worships at St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church. Issa is the son of Maral Artinian-Issa and Elias Issa. He will attend Emory University to study chemistry on a pre-medical track. The salutatorian is Brennan Ujda, the son of Mary and John Ujda. He worships at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Atlanta. Ujda will study chemical engineering at Yale University. 

Monsignor Donovan High School announced Gracie Johnson and Kimberly Jaurez as its honor graduates. Valedictorian Gracie Johnson attends St. Joseph Church, Athens. Her parents are Katie and Shawn Johnson. She will plan to attend the University of Georgia to major in psychology. Salutatorian is Kimberly Juarez, daughter of Benjamin and Elsa Juarez. They are parishioners of St. Joseph Church. Juarez will attend the University of Georgia this fall. 

Notre Dame Academy’s top scholars are Devin Minish and Isabella Cabrera. Valedictorian Devin Minish is the son of Christopher Minish and Lexie Crowson. The family worships at Perimeter Church. Minish will attend William & Mary to pursue a degree in data science. Salutatorian is Isabella Cabrera, daughter of Eduardo Cabrera and Luz Amador. They are parishioners of Divino Niño Jesus Mission in Duluth. She will attend the University of Notre Dame to study architecture and music production. 

Pinecrest Academy named Ashely Kutter and Katherine Meeks as its honor graduates. Valedictorian Ashely Kutter is the daughter of Jamie Kutter and Marc Kutter. She is a parishioner of St. Brendan the Navigator Church, Cumming, and will be attending the University of Notre Dame to study global affairs. The salutatorian is Katherine Meeks, daughter of Michael Meeks. A parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Church in Mableton, Meeks will attend Georgia Institute of Technology to study engineering. 

St. Mary’s Academy top scholars are Nathan Tran and Alex Bao Doan. Valedictorian  Nathan Tran worships at St. John the Evangelist Church. He is the son of Uyen Pham and Phong Tran. After graduation, Tran will study computer science at the Georgia Institue of Technology. Salutatorian Alex Bao Doan is the son of Jimmy Hoai and Thu Chau. They are parishioners of Our Lady of Vietnam Church, Riverdale. He will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology to pursue degrees in chemical and biomolecular engineering.  

St. Pius X High School recognizes Randy Graebner and Molly Pitra as the honor graduates. Valedictorian Randy Graebner worships at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. He is the son of Kim and Randy Graebner and will attend the University of Alabama in the fall. Salutatorian Molly Pitra is the daughter of Nancy and Joseph Pitra. They are parishioners of the Cathedral of Christ the King. Pitra will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Other grads honored

 St. John Bosco Academy, a hybrid school in Cumming, named its valedictorian and salutatorian. Alyssa Hoffstetter, daughter of Mark and Candice Hoffstetter, is the valedictorian. They attend St. Brendan the Navigator Church. She will study biology (pre-med) at the University of Georgia. The academy’s salutatorian is Lexie Ray, daughter of Billy and Kerri Ray. They are parishioners of St. Benedict Church, Johns Creek. Ray plans to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology and study biology. 

Peyton Harvey, son of Rick and Estella Harvey, is the salutatorian of Paul Duke STEM High School in Norcross. He is also a 2024 STAR Student, National Merit Scholar and a Filipino-American Presidential Scholar. Harvey is a parishioner of St. Monica Church, Duluth. He will attend Columbia University to major in financial engineering and operations research.