Positive Athlete awardees recognized

DeKalb County School District (DCSD) was represented by 14 athletes and two coaches in the 2023 Positive Athlete Awards.

Statewide scholarship winner Keegan Cole of Lakeside High School and regional scholarship winner Kyla Jackson of Miller Grove were honored in recent ceremonies held for the award winners.

Athletes and coaches win Positive Athlete Awards after being nominated by their schools, coaches, and communities. The awards recognize the most positive athletes, coaches, and schools based on athletic prowess, community service, and overcoming hardships, according to the awards’ website.

Atlanta Falcons kicker Youngho Koo recently presented the awards to the winners in a ceremony held at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

More than 354 athletes and coaches were nominated, and those selected won scholarships and were considered for statewide recognition and additional scholarship opportunities.

Cole, a senior, was DeKalb’s only statewide winner after being recognized as the boys’ multi-sport state awardee and 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 said he will attend the University of Georgia.

Jackson is a senior cheerleader at Miller Grove and received an Atlanta Region Leadership Scholarship and was named the cheer/gymnastics honoree for the Atlanta Region.

Jackson graduated with honors in the top 2 percent of her class with a 4.0 GPA. She 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 Distributive Education Clubs of America and the National Honor Society.

Along with the $1,000 Northside Hospital Leadership Scholarship through Positive Athlete of Georgia scholarship, Jackson has been awarded numerous scholarships to further her academic career and said she plans to attend Florida A&M University to study mass media and journalism.

Additionally, Columbia head girls’ basketball coach Eric Bell was honored with the Girls’ Coaching Award for the Atlanta region. 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.


Aiyanna Taylor, M.L. King (Softball)

Caseyona Hight, Stephenson (Girls Cross Country)

Cooper Rosen, Dunwoody (Boys Basketball)

Itiera Davis, Towers (Multi-Sport/Basketball/Track)

Jack Pankey, Dunwoody (Lacrosse)

Jacquari Ivey, SW DeKalb (Baseball)

Jacqui Mandujan, Cross Keys (Girls Basketball)

Jude Hiley, Druid Hills (Adapted Sports/Baseball)

Katy Burkett, Druid Hills (Girls Tennis)

Keegan Cole, Lakeside (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 (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 (Boys Multi-Sport)


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