Pace Academy announced its 2015 valedictorian and salutatorian during Senior Honors Day on Friday, May 15.
Mark Grenader was named valedictorian, while Erin Rawls was named salutatorian.
Associate Director of College Counseling Lee Nuckolls presented the salutatorian medal to Rawls, the student with the second-highest grade point average in the class. During the May 15 ceremony, Rawls also received the Charlie Owens Pace Academy Letter Blanket Award and the George G. Kirkpatrick Pace Knight Award.
Rawls, a National Merit Semifinalist, has been an active participant in the school’s nationally renowned debate program. She earned Pace Academy’s Award for Excellence in Debate four consecutive years and this year received a bid to compete in the University of Kentucky’s prestigious National Tournament of Champions. She also serves as a debate coach and judge with the Atlanta Urban Debate League.
In addition, Rawls is a four-year member of the varsity gymnastics team. She has been active in PASS, a student group that advocates against the underage use of alcohol and other drugs, and this year served as a member of PASS’s executive team. She is a peer tutor, a founder of the school’s STEM Club, a member of the math team, and a volunteer with Emmaus House, an organization that provides education, opportunity, assistance and advocacy in partnership with residents of Atlanta’s Peoplestown neighborhood. This spring, Rawls traveled to Romania through Pace Academy’s Isdell Center for Global Leadership’s (ICGL) partnership with Habitat for Humanity International. Rawls is an Orkin Scholar, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and member of the Cum Laude and National Honor Societies. As a junior, she received the Yale Book Award and the Math Department Award.
Rawls is the daughter of Dana and Jim Rawls of Marietta. She will attend Rice University in the fall.
Associate of College Counseling Amy Secor awarded the valedictorian medal to Grenader, the student with the highest grade point average in the class. During the ceremony, Grenader also received the Frank D. Kaley Award, the school’s highest honor; the Pace Silver Knight Award, given to seniors who have earned a varsity letter in each season of their high-school years; and the Sydney A. Rushin Mathematics Prize. The Pace Academy faculty voted him “Most Likely to Succeed.”
Throughout his high-school career, Grenader has participated in varsity swimming, lacrosse, soccer and cross-country. As a captain, he led the 2014 cross-country team to a second-place state finish and placed fifth individually, earning a spot on the Class AA All-State Team. He advanced to the 2015 state-championship swim meet, where his relay team broke the school record, and he led the 2015 soccer team to the Georgia High School Association’s semifinals.
Grenader also is active in Pace Academy’s Model United Nations program, has served on the Student Council and is a Pace Ambassador. His independent study projects have taken him to Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Delhi and Georgia Tech, where he performed research in the Laboratory for Drug Delivery and co-authored Collection of Analytes from Microneedle Patches, which appeared in an October 2014 edition of Analytical Chemistry.
Grenader, who is fluent in Russian, has been recognized for his academic achievement through membership in the Cum Laude Society, the National Honor Society and the Orkin Honor Society. He is also an AP Scholar with Distinction. As a freshman, Grenader received the Jim and Lesley Wheeler Scholar Athlete Award and the Faculty Award for Scholarship. He won the Mimi Ann Deas Award for scholarship and citizenship his sophomore year, and as a junior, he received the Harvard Book Prize. He traveled to Japan with the ICGL as a sophomore.
Grenader, the son of Natalia and Iakov Grenader of Atlanta, will enroll in the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology.