Neathan Aresh: Magnet Valedictorian


Neathan Aresh enjoying his lunch in the Chamblee cafeteria.

Hannah Choy, Editor

On March 15, 2023, this year’s valedictorians and salutatorians were announced by DeKalb County School District. These students have the highest grade point average (GPA) among their class, and for Chamblee High School, is awarded to two members of the magnet program and two members of the residential student population.

This year’s magnet valedictorian is Neathan Aresh (‘23), a title he was not expecting.

“A lot of people take summer classes, and everyone was trying their best to take as many classes [as they could] and try to figure out what they wanted to do after high school. That’s kind of what I was doing [as well], just trying to take classes. I wasn’t really aiming for [valedictorian], nor expecting it, but it just happened,” said Aresh.

By taking more classes, especially Advanced Placement (AP) or dual enrollment courses, students are able to increase their GPA at a faster rate, since these classes are graded on a five-point scale, versus a standard class’s four-point scale.

To accomplish such a high GPA, Aresh took a multitude of AP classes at Chamblee before doing dual enrollment full-time at Georgia Tech for his senior year.

“I had a few favorite classes [throughout high school including] AP Chemistry in 11th grade, AP U.S. History in 11th grade, the ninth grade Lit/Comp English class with Nesbitt, and AP Physics C with Cabrices,” said Aresh.

Aresh’s work ethic was not limited to academics, however, as his dedication carried over onto the tennis court.

“I’ve known Neathan all of his four years because [I was] the head tennis coach for two years and helped with the tennis team before that. Last year when he was a junior, he served basically as co-captain. Then, fortunately, I had him in AP U.S. History last year. He was always trying to do more, always just so respectful, attentive, and hardworking. He was always volunteering, always answering questions,” said Ms. Jennifer Tinnell.

Aresh also balanced a job as a math tutor on top of his other commitments, no easy feat with his already packed schedule.

“Some of my great memories [with Neathan was] when I was the head coach. We did a lot of conditioning, and there’d be some practices where he would leave tennis because he was going to tutor at Mathnasium to help other kids. Obviously, he’s making a little bit of money, but I also really admired that that was the job that he had. I think [when] you want to teach other people something that you’re really good at, that says a lot. It was [also] fun, because if you’re leaving early, [I told the team] you’re going to get an extra lap. It was a good way to bond [because Neathan and I] would go take a lap [together],’” said Tinnell.

Tinnell also speaks highly of Aresh’s character and his ability to lead.

“He was a very good leader. I think he led through his actions, just being a good role model. He’s not the loudest or the most rambunctious type of person, so leading by example is very important. He was very easy to be around, and I think he’s just a very polite, charming, and respectful young man. His mom and dad were always very supportive and kind to me as a teacher and as a coach, so that means a lot as well,” said Tinnell.

These skills are evident in Aresh’s rank as an Eagle Scout, an honor that not many achieve due to the time commitment it takes to earn. According to the Scouting Magazine, only about 6% of all eligible Scouts BSA (Boy Scouts of America) earn Eagle rank.

“He’s literally doing it all, I mean, performing academically, participating in sports, I know he’s big into the clubs, and then he’s an Eagle Scout. That’s weekends, just all this extra time getting all those different badges, and then having to do an Eagle Scout project,” said Tinnell.

Even with all of these accomplishments, Aresh remains a down-to-earth person.

“My opinion of him is that he is very humble, which is great. It’s hard to teach humility, and a lot of people who are really good at something might be kind of showy about it, so I like that Neathan is the strong, intelligent, talented, quiet type,” said Tinnell.

Despite maintaining a rigorous academic schedule and having numerous commitments, Aresh was able to make time for social activities, some even becoming his favorite high school memories.

“Prom last year was very fun [and] I’ll definitely remember that. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that I’ll remember, just small things, but prom was probably the biggest one out of all of them,” said Aresh.

While high school and the college admissions process can be intimidating, Aresh shares his advice on how to work towards success.

“[During high school], don’t don’t get caught up in the classes, just have fun. [Regarding the college admissions process], I know everyone says this, but genuinely write your essays early. Start in the summer, because I remember just cramming, and on top of classes, it was bad. I was very stressed. I know everyone says it, but actually start really early,” said Aresh.

Aresh will be majoring in Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology this fall.

“My plans for the future [are] honestly either Delta or helping the government make missiles,” said Aresh.

Wherever Aresh ends up in the future, Tinnell is confident in his abilities to flourish.

“What I really want is [for Neathan] to do something that’s going to make him happy. It might sound kind of cheesy, but there’s so much drive to continue to be academically successful, and I know his family is very driven in that way. I want him to be financially successful, but I [also] want him to also be emotionally successful because he has such a kind personality that I hope will be involved in whatever he chooses to do,” said Tinnell. “What I think we want is for you all to be happy emotionally, and find success there because that’s what’s gonna last the longest. So whatever he ends up doing, he’s gonna be awesome.”