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Avellon Williams 

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA- Daniel Hermonstine, a seventeen-year-old Guyanese living in the United States, graduated from Atlanta’s Daniel McLaughlin Therrell High School on May 27th as valedictorian, defying all odds.

Daniel grew up in Guyana for the first eleven years of his life and attended the New Guyana School, where he wrote the “Common Entrance” in 2016. He migrated to the United States shortly after graduating from the educational institution.

/Image, Twitter/

As part of his address at his school’s graduation ceremony, Daniel expressed gratitude to the teachers, the principal, and his mother, Lady Dianne Hermonstine, whom he described as his biggest supporter. Lastly, he thanked his father, Pastor David Hermonstine, for having played such an important role in his life.

Daniel not only graduated from the top of his high school class but has been offered an academic scholarship to Georgetown University in Washington DC as well.

“I have worked hard over these last four years to become who I am today. I developed a working mentality; one that I have carried with me throughout high school, and that I will carry with me as I head to the nation’s capital, Washington DC, to attend Georgetown University on a ‘full-ride’ academic scholarship,” he said.

Throughout his life, Daniel said his family has supported and motivated him to succeed.

“However, if I were to single out someone, it would have to be my mother. My mother goes above and beyond for my success; she always puts forth her best effort to kick down any doors in my way. Her mission in life is to provide me with a great life,” Daniel said.

Therrell High School Baseball-Atlanta, GA, /Image, NFHSN/

In the middle of his youth, after migrating to an unfamiliar country, he faced many difficulties, including the death of family members, the cancer diagnosis of his mother, and the severe culture shock that came with it.

“God wouldn’t put me in it if he didn’t prepare me for it,” is one of Daniel’s most frequently used quotes, since it has enabled him to overcome adverse situations.

Currently, Daniel is a Laboratory Researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology: Project Engages, and a CMAT Scholar for the Bio-Interfaced Translational Nanoengineering Group.

/Image, Twitter/

Daniel explained, “My ‘lab’ is centered on soft electronics in the field of healthcare. Soft electronics addresses a wide range of applications, by enabling the comfortable, continuous, and real-time monitoring of signals. My contribution to the scientific field of soft electronics revolves around creating unique, stretchable fractal designs.

“The stretchability and flexibility of soft electronics make them unique, and more effective than rigid electronics. The more stretchable and flexible a pattern is, the more efficient the soft device will be.” 

In addition, he recently participated in the district’s very-first Mayoral Candidate Forum.

“It is Mayoral Election time here in Atlanta, and I am proud to have witnessed students question one of the potential future leaders of my beloved city. It was also exciting for me to mingle with said future leaders, and pick their brains on some issues I find troubling,” he said.

Daniel often volunteers and shared one of his most meaningful acts of community service.

“The most meaningful community service act for me has been assisting at Special Olympics yearly, and mentorship. I believe that everyone is unique in their way; it is a joy of mine to yearly assist in the Special Olympics,” Daniel said.

Academically, he has achieved a weighted GPA of 4.0+ as well as an unweighted GPA of 3.9+. Besides being an honor roll student and a principal’s list student, he was selected along with ten other students to do scientific research at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

To top it off, he is also in the top one percent of his class. Since eighth grade, Daniel has always been an advanced student.

“I took Algebra I in 8th Grade; I took Algebra II in 8th Grade in summer; I took Physics in 9th Grade in summer,” he said.

Student advisory council /current members / Image, APS/

His school appointed him as Executive Ambassador and vice-chair of the Atlanta Board of Education’s Student Advisory Council.

Bunche Debate is one of Daniel’s extraordinary skills, as he has won many medals on the teams and grown as a debater during that time.

In his graduation speech, Daniel said that a conversation he had with his mother in 2019 ignited a fire inside of him, one which he says is still burning now and will continue to burn as he goes out into the world.

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Avellon Williams

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