Fourteen DeKalb County Schools athletes and two coaches earned awards through Positive Athlete for the 2023 school year including statewide winner Keegan Cole of Lakeside and Regional Scholarship winner Kyla Jackson of Miller Grove in recent ceremonies held for the award winners.
Athletes and coaches from schools around the state are nominated by their school, coach and community for overcoming hardships, community involvement and athletic prowess showing a Positive attitude in all they due. Youngho Koo presented the awards to the winners in a ceremony held at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Some 354-plus athletes and coaches were nominated for the recognition in their region (Atlanta) and those selected were then up for statewide recognition and scholarship opportunities.
Cole, a senior, was DeKalb’s only statewide winner being recognized as the Boys’ Multi-Sport state awardee after receiving Atlanta Region honors as a Boys’ Alternate Sport entry.
The Lakeside graduate participated as captain on the Lakeside swim team while also participating in water polo and ultimate frisbee during his time at Lakeside. He is headed to the University of Georgia in the fall.
Senior cheerleader Kyla Jackson of Miller Grove received an Atlanta Region Leadership Scholarship and was named the Cheer/Gymnastics honoree for the Atlanta Region.
The 2023 graduate graduated with honors in the top two percent of her class with a 4.0 GPA. Jackson served as a captain on the cheer squad, President of the Senior Class, Miller Grove TV Media President and sports editor and was a member of DECA and the National Honor Society.
Jackson was also voted as the 2023 Prom Queen, Most Likely to Succeed, Best All Around and Most School Spirit by her peers. Along with the $1,000 Northside Hospital Leadership Scholarship through Positive Athlete of Georgia she has been awarded numerous scholarships to further her academic career. She is set to attend Florida A&M University in the fall to study Mass Media and Journalism.
Other Atlanta Region honorees from DeKalb include Aiyanna Taylor, M.L. King (Softball), Caseyona Hight, Stephenson (SR, Girls Cross Country), Cooper Rosen, Dunwoody (SR, Boys Basketball), Itiera Davis, Towers (SR, Multi-Sport/Basketball/Track), Jack Pankey, Dunwoody (SR, Lacrosse), Jacquari Ivey, SW DeKalb (Baseball), Jacqui Mandujan, Cross Keys (JR, Girls Basketball), Jude Hiley, Druid Hills (SR, Adapted Sports/Baseball), Katy Burkett, Druid Hills (JR, Girls Tennis), Kennedy Leach, Redan (Girls Track and Field), Miracle Jerome, Cedar Grove (Girls Alternate Sport) and Naa Adua Annan, Chamblee (SR, Girls Swimming).
A pair of DeKalb coaches were also received Atlanta Region honors from Positive Athlete – Georgia this year.
Columbia head girls’ basketball coach Eric Bell was honored with the Girls’ Coaching Award. Bell has served as the Columbia coach for the past seven years.
McNair’s Maurice Sutton received the Boys’ Coaching Award for the Atlanta Region. Sutton coaches football, wrestling and track at his alma mater.
DEKALB REGIONAL WINNERS
Aiyanna Taylor, M.L. King (Softball)
Caseyona Hight, Stephenson (SR, Girls Cross Country)
Cooper Rosen, Dunwoody (SR, Boys Basketball)
Itiera Davis, Towers (SR, Multi-Sport/Basketball/Track)
Jack Pankey, Dunwoody (SR, Lacrosse)
Jacquari Ivey, SW DeKalb (Baseball)
Jacqui Mandujan, Cross Keys (JR, Girls Basketball)
Jude Hiley, Druid Hills (SR, Adapted Sports/Baseball)
Katy Burkett, Druid Hills (JR, Girls Tennis)
Keegan Cole, Lakeside (SR, Boys Alternative Sport)
Kennedy Leach, Redan (Girls Track and Field)
Kyla Jackson, Miller Grove (Cheer)
Miracle Jerome, Cedar Grove (Girls Alternate Sport)
Naa Adua Annan, Chamblee (SR, Girls Swimming)
Eric Bell, Columbia, (Girls Coach/Basketball)
Maurice Sutton, McNair (Boys Coach/Football, Wrestling, Track)
Kyla Jackson, Miller Grove (Cheer), Northside Hospital Leadership
Keegan Cole, Lakeside (SR, Boys Multi-Sport)