Katie Ciavola was named as her class’ Salutatorian during Lake Oconee Academy’s Senior Honors ceremony on May 14.
For her, though, being Salutatorian was just a cherry on top. By the time the announcement came, Ciavola had already accomplished her ultimate goal. Her post-graduation aspirations are what fueled her academic journey for the past four years and set her apart from others in her class.
“My only goal was to get into Georgia Tech,” Ciavola said. “That goal put me on the track to take those higher level math and science classes that others didn’t end up taking. And I was going to do everything I had to to accomplish that.”
Starting in August, Ciavola will be in Atlanta attending classes at Georgia Tech. She plans to major in mechanical engineering to, one day, become a product designer.
Even so, Ciavola didn’ overlook the honor of being her graduating class’ Salutatorian. Furthermore, the honor holds a special significance to her.
“To me, being Salutatorian means not only representing my class academically, but as a whole, too,” Ciavola said. “It’s about representing the people in your class that you love.”
In addition to academics, Ciavola has a stellar resume in athletics, too.
She’s been a member of the sideline and competitive cheerleading team, participated on an all-star cheerleading team her senior year and co-founded the Pete Nance Boys and Girls Club cheer club.
Just like her academics will carry her to Georgia Tech, so will her athletics as she will be joining the Yellow Jackets’ cheerleading squad.
Ciavola was involved in more than just cheerleading, though.
She was the treasurer of the student government association, headed up a raffle that raised $4,000 for the LOA cheer program, was a member of Youth Leadership Greene her sophomore year and took a lot of Advanced Placement classes.
Adding all of that while being a full-time student was no easy task. It took having a close class of friends to help Ciavola along the way.
“My core group of friends is really amazing,” Ciavola said. “We’ve taken almost all of the same classes together. And, because we were all together, we held each other accountable but also had a ton of fun at the same time. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
People like Ciavola’s friends make it tough on Ciavola to leave LOA. She highlighted the community feeling she’s had since day one walking through the hallways of the school.
Whether it was the faculty, staff or administration, she stated that it was everyone in the school who made her high school experience what it was.
And, now that she’s obtained her goal of going to Georgia Tech, Ciavola recognized that none of it would’ve been possible without the help of LOA.
She plans on using the lessons she learned at the next level, too.
“LOA has shown me the benefit of forming connections with people,” Ciavola said. “If you really develop a relationship with someone you care about, then you can always rely on those relationships. So, I know that, if I’m struggling with something in college, I have friends back here who I can reach out to.”