Ashanti Aaron

Ashanti Aaron named Karr Valedictorian
Posted on 04/30/2021

Valedictorian, Posse Scholar, LHSAA All-Academic Athlete, Turk Sports Student-Athlete and Player of Year, team captain, and part-time employee, Enda Karr senior Ashanti Aaron is the embodiment of balance and time management.

“My secret is I make sure I’m ahead of everything, and I always stay on top of my work,” Ashanti said. “I’m super focused. I have tunnel vision and I get stuff done.”

Ashanti will be the third Valedictorian in her family.

“It is great to be a part of the legacy of greatness and academic excellence in my family,” she said, adding that two of her uncles were also valedictorians and a third was salutatorian. “I’m really excited. I’m excited to be part of the top 10, period. I think that’s a big achievement.” 

Ashanti was also named a Posse Scholar. As such, she’ll be attending Case Western Reserve University on a full leadership scholarship. She’s also a finalist for a $30,000 Jackie Robinson Foundation scholarship.

Ashanti said her favorite subjects throughout her high school career have been her AP social science classes and math. 

“It comes from me having a fascination with social studies and history, and when I was in AP Government and Politics, that class combined politics and the history behind it and that’s what really drew me in. It was probably one of my favorite classes that I’ve ever taken,” she said.

It’s no surprise that Ashanti also named her Advanced Placement teachers as her favorites including Maureen Clark (AP Human Geography), Andry Renard (AP Government and Politics), Jason Hatt (AP US and World History), and Jacade Gordon (AP Calculus and dual enrollment advisor). 

“With these teachers, it was like a dialog in the classroom. It was such an interaction that I really got to dig deep and think,” she said. “They were really funny so you could have fun and laugh. When people think of an AP classes, they think it’s just work, but with them, it was something more. They tied the curriculum into nice activities, and I really enjoyed that.”

She said she appreciated the dedication of Clark and Hatt who offered tutoring on weekends.

“I felt like that really helped. It was really like a relationship being built with the teachers,” she said. “Anything I needed, they were always there for me to ask. Even times when I was unsure about what I was doing, they always reassured me that I was going to be good.”

Hatt said Ashanti always came to class with a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and a desire to always improve her way of viewing, writing, and discussing history.

“She will blaze a path in college and use her talents to make improvements in the world and in those people around her,” he said

Ashanti is certainly on the right track, having received a score of 5 on every AP exam she’s taken so far.

“That goes to show you how great those social studies teachers are,” she said. “They are the best.”

Renard said having Ashanti in his classed made him a better teacher. 

“Ashanti forced me to dive deeper into content and push for even more academic skills. It was a challenge in a good way,” he said. “She is simply one of the top students that I’ve ever encountered in my teaching career. Her intelligence, work ethic, and genuine love of learning are unmatched.”

A straight “A,” Principal’s Honor Roll student, Ashanti was named a LHSAA All-Academic Athlete. The honor recognizes the academic excellence of senior student-athletes who has attained a six-semester GPA of at least an un-weighted 4.00 and who have never received a B grade or lower. She was also named Female Student-Athlete of the Year and Player of the Year by Turk Sports & The Turk, and in 2019 she won the Westbank Quarterback Cub award for most outstanding athlete for volleyball.

“I’ve been playing volleyball since I was 7 or 8 but my freshman year on the team, I wasn’t really grounded and disciplined and that was something I had to learn and that had to be instilled in me as time went on,” she said, adding that she went on to become team captain her junior year. “I had some awesome teammates. It was really special to me because it was one of my best years ever playing.”

She’s also captain of the softball team.

“Being a leader on the team this year has really been a great experience,” she said, adding she enjoys helping the underclassmen.

In addition to all this, Ashanti also works 10-15 hours a week at Chick fil-A, where her manager recently surprised her with a $2,500 scholarship.

“In light of the demanding workload, Ashanti found time to time to excel in athletics and school. She’s is a very inquisitive and engaged student with a very positive attitude,” Gordon said. “I can truly say I am very proud of her and all her accomplishments.”

Her father, Cedric Aaron, said he’s thrilled by his daughter’s achievements. 

“I always tell her how proud I am of her. The sky’s the limit for her,” he said. “She’s an unselfish person. You know in life when you put others first, your friends and family second, and yourself on the back burner, you’re always going to have blessings.”

One of those “blessings” was Ashanti being named a Posse Scholar. 

“There were a lot of people applying to the Posse program from a lot of different great schools around the New Orleans area, and that was kind of intimidating. But I kept getting emails saying I was going on to the next interview and next interview,” she said. “Then they asked me to rank the schools I was interested in. At the top I picked Case Western. It has a great biology department and Cleveland has one of the best medical centers in the country.”

Ashanti was notified she was a finalist for Case Western and was interviewed by their admissions team. 

“After interview, I had to immediately go to work. One of my coworkers told me that my phone was blowing up and I thought it was one of my friends so I didn’t answer,” she said. It was only after a coworker told her to take the call that she received some amazing news. “It was one of my Posse trainers who told me I was missing something on my application, and I was nervous wondering ‘what did I do?’ so I hopped on the call with the Case Western admission counselor and the other Posse trainers. That’s when they told me I was going to need snow boots because I was going to Cleveland. I just screamed. In that moment I was so happy.”

This fall, she’ll be majoring in biology on the pre-med track and minoring in political science. She aspires to be an ob-gyn and sub specialize in gynecology oncology.

“My sophomore year, I really stated to think about what I wanted to be when I grow up, and I started thinking about things I’m really passionate about like women’s rights and women’s health,” she said. “And our reproductive system is so amazing to me, and I really wanted to dig deep and learn more about that.”

Ultimately though, she wants to help other women.

“I really want to make an impact on the world. I really want to help women in these third world countries that don’t have access to what we have access to,” she said. “I really want to work on treating cancers specific to women. I want to cure cancer. I know it will take more than me, but I just want to be a part of it.” 

Renard said he expects great things from Ashanti.

“Ashanti is one the best students I’ve had the privilege of teaching and learning from in my career,” Renard said. “There is no question in my mind that she will be the absolute greatest at whatever it is that she sets her mind to.”

Clark agreed, calling Ashanti an extraordinary young person.

“She is academically outstanding. Both in the classroom and on the field, Ashanti spent her four years at Karr striving to be her best self and she succeeded. She is a true example of a Second to None scholar, and we will always be proud to call her an Edna Karr alumna,” she said. “Ashanti's natural talents will drive her future success on any journey she decides to take. The bar will be raised wherever she goes simply by her presence. I couldn't be more excited to see what comes next for her.”