Public PK-12 School District in Dalton, Georgia

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DHS Student Named National AP Scholar
"I wake up everyday and feel grateful for the opportunities that I have as a student in Dalton."
David Garcia school photo

David Garcia, senior at Dalton High School, was recently named as a National Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar for his extraordinary academic achievements. Garcia defied the odds and will be the only student at Dalton High to graduate with this honor in May.

The National AP Scholar award is the highest honor granted from the College Board. Less than 1% of high school students nationwide earn this rare distinction each year.

Students who are distinguished as National AP Scholars must have received an average score of at least four on eight or more AP exams. Most students who achieve this accolade have already graduated high school.

Not only is he academically gifted, but is also actively involved as captain of both the wrestling and football teams. He knows the discipline it takes to manage these roles and his academic course load.

"I derive a lot of my sense of achievements and sense of fulfillments from sports," Garcia said. "It's honestly a little bit of a grind, but when you have a greater goal in mind, it'll help you when you find yourself in difficult positions."

For many AP students, the rigor of the classwork can be overwhelming. However, Garcia said the key to being successful is finding interest in the courses and having a supportive network.

"I can't think of any teacher's class I have ever felt bored or unprepared for," Garcia said. "It comes down to a student being willing to do the work that a teacher sets for them to do. I'm super appreciative for the teachers I've had and for having the best counselor, Julie Gallman."

Garcia is not fazed by the hard work one has to put in to achieve desired outcomes. As a child of Colombian parents who immigrated to America to escape the horrors of the civil war, he knows he has been given the opportunity to pursue a better life for himself.

"I wake up everyday and feel grateful for the opportunities that I have as a student in Dalton," Garcia said. "I, like so many others in Dalton, am a child of immigrants. My parents worked so hard to be able to be in this country and to be in the position to send me to a school like Dalton High School."

He recognizes the importance of education and community outreach, and credits Coach Land, Dalton High's head football coach, for encouraging him to be the best version of himself.

"Coach Land is a role model to many and seeing him and his successes has inspired me to want to give back to this community," Garcia said. "He's motivated me to push myself in all facets of my life. I want to come back and provide opportunities for people like the ones I've had, and help with the continuity of this town and school system."

His advice to students who choose to take AP classes is to remain focus and prioritize the importance of the AP exams.

"Something that a lot of people overlook is preparation for the exam," Garcia said. "They really need to maintain their focus towards the end of the year and show up to the AP exam practices and make it a priority."

Garcia will be joining the United States Army soon after graduating high school. He completed basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina this past summer. His hopes are to attend West Point and pursue a career in the military.