On the Map

These graduates have accomplished incredible things and enjoyed great successes since their four years in local high schools. Their talents and passions have taken them to prestigious universities, across the globe, and in some cases, right back to the Scenic City. So what’s putting them on the map? Read about it here.

By Mary Beth Wallace

Alexis Boaz high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaFINDING SUCCESS IN LAW

Alexis Boaz | Notre Dame High School, Class of 2011

Alexis is a fourth-year J.D./M.P.H. candidate at The George Washington University focused on health policy and law. During her eight years in Washington D.C., she attended Georgetown University and has interned and worked with various government agencies, including The White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and four divisions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Alexis’ articles on the health care system and health reform have also been featured in HuffPost and the Georgetown University Journal of Health Sciences. She will be starting at a D.C. law firm this August.

Demetrius Boatwright high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaA JACK OF ALL TRADES

Demetrius Boatwright | Brainerd High School, Class of 2012

During his time in high school, Demetrius was observed early on as a natural-born leader. When he graduated in 2012, he began his career as a mortician at Taylor Funeral Home in Chattanooga. Demetrius then earned his accounting degree from Argosy University and opened his own firm – Boatwright Accounting and Investments, where he now serves as president. Demetrius is also a detention officer at the juvenile court in Hamilton County. On top of it all, he gives back to his community as a youth pastor and motivational speaker at many of the local schools.

Cole Wilcox high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaHITTING A HOME RUN

Cole Wilcox | Heritage High School, Class of 2018

In his senior year of high school, Cole not only led the Heritage Generals baseball team to their second consecutive Final Four state playoff appearance, but he was also a member of the 18U National Team. Having also earned All-American honors and Georgia Merit Scholar recognition, Cole was a projected Major League Baseball first-round draft pick in 2018, but he decided to honor his commitment to play for the University of Georgia. He is currently pitching for the Bulldogs and majoring in finance. Cole will again be eligible for the MLB draft in 2020.

Stella Parris high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaPRESERVING MEMORIES

Stella Parris | St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, Class of 2013

After interviewing WWII veterans for a college entrepreneurship group, Stella was moved to better understand her elders through the context of life experiences. Now the co-founder and chief operating officer of The Story of Life (TSOLife), headquartered in Tampa, Florida, she offers innovative and creative solutions to easily encapsulate and record one’s life story. Stella and her team help senior living communities leverage technology to easily capture, preserve, and share the legacies of their residents. Three years after launching their college project, TSOLife has nine employees and is revolutionizing the way personal histories are captured and preserved.

Michele Donihe Legernes high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaCLEANING UP THE OCEAN

Michele Donihe Legernes | Girls Preparatory School, Class of 2009

Michele is a marine ecologist, U.S. Coast Guard Boat Captain, and scientific diver with a secret love of sharks. As CEO of Zing Ocean Conservancy Virgin Islands and co-founder of the conservancy in Norway, she and her husband, Jonas, are raising awareness of marine debris through cleanups and collaborative partnerships. She started the nonprofit in 2017 while finishing her master’s degree in marine ecology from the University of the Virgin Islands. Michele holds a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology and psychology from King University. She started her marine biology career studying great white sharks with Oceans Research in Mossel Bay, South Africa.

James Talley high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaNOTHIN’ BUT NET

James Talley | The Howard School, Class of 2000

As the newly minted head basketball coach for the Howard Hustlin’ Tigers, James is having a full-circle moment. He played basketball and football at Howard during his time as a student, later earning degrees from Alabama A&M and Lee University. Now, he’s giving back to his alma mater by coaching and mentoring his players, helping them realize their goals both on and off the court. James also has plans to recapture past basketball glory, and with this season’s trip to the state championship – the Tigers’ first appearance in six years – he’s on the right track.

Jessie Anne Compton high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaA MISSION OF SPREADING JOY

Jessie Anne Compton | Grace Baptist Academy, Class of 2011

Although only in her second year of teaching, Jessie Anne has already made a positive impact at Northshore Elementary School in Knoxville. Not only is she teaching music classes, Jessie Anne has also spearheaded rehearsals for the school play Peter Pan Jr. and taken the lead on the school-wide Positive Behavior System committee. She loves sharing her passion for music with her students, who benefit from her enthusiasm, kindness, and encouragement. Jessie Anne is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she was mentored by Dr. Marvelene Moore – one of the most published music educators in the country.

Haylee Texas Gossett high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaSHARING A COMMUNITY’S STORIES

Haylee Texas Gossett | Hixson High School, Class of 2014

When Haylee began her college career at Middle Tennessee State University, she had her heart set on becoming a newscaster. A multimedia journalism major, she soon realized her true calling was behind the scenes – publicizing meaningful stories. Upon graduation, Haylee was hired into a Top 50 media market in Louisville, Kentucky, as a morning producer for WHAS11’s “Good Morning Kentuckiana.” Haylee’s career allows her to tap into her creative side and connect with others on a deeper level, an ability she attributes to her upbringing in Hixson.

Wouter de Wet high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaREACHING NEW HEIGHTS

Wouter de Wet | Signal Mountain Middle/High School, Class of 2010

Wouter has been fascinated with space ever since his parents took him to see one of the last shuttle launches in Florida. After graduating from Signal Mountain Middle/High School as student body president, Wouter went on to study nuclear engineering, receiving his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He worked in conjunction with NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for his Ph.D. and has served on other teams in the space radiation research field. Wouter is currently in his dream role as a research scientist for the University of New Hampshire Space Science Center.

Tiffany Williams high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaEMPOWERING ATLANTA ARTISTS

Tiffany Williams | Baylor School, Class of 2007

Following her 2011 graduation from the University of Southern California, Tiffany spent several years at NBC, where she worked in management on top programs Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. But in 2016, Tiffany made a defining career change when she decided to pursue her passions of women’s studies and art. She founded TILA Studios, a visual arts incubator that empowers emerging black female artists in Metro Atlanta to create and showcase their art. As executive director, Tiffany now manages a co-working space and a shared gallery space for her members.

Travis Hitchcock high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaBETTER BY DESIGN

Travis Hitchcock | Lookout Valley Middle/High School, Class of 2010

Ever since graduating from Lookout Valley, Travis has been making an impact in the world of design. While earning his B.F.A. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Travis founded The Society of Ink & Paper, a student-run indie publication organization. He interned for Tubatomic and Prezi before joining the design team at Chattanooga-based Widgets & Stone. Local companies which feature Travis’ work include Velo Coffee Roasters, Chattanooga Football Club, and dive bar Hi-Fi Clyde’s. In 2018, Travis and his brother created The Sleepy Boys Club and The Sleepy Girls Club – a clothing line featuring casual tees, hats, and sweatshirts. 

Reid Austin high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaMAKING DREAMS COME TRUE

Reid Austin | Chattanooga Christian School, Class of 2012

Reid has always been passionate about music and theatre, and at CCS he starred in musical theatre productions like The Music Man while also helping backstage and in the tech booth. At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he earned a B.A. in theatre, working toward his goal of a career in tech production. Reid is now living his dream in Orlando, Florida, where he works at Walt Disney World as a stage technician at Epcot. He installs, programs, and operates audio, lighting, and video for live shows and events – and loves every minute of it.

Matt Hogan high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaBUILDING A PLATFORM FOR IDEAS

Matt Hogan | Boyd Buchanan School, Class of 2011

A former Mr. Boyd Buchanan, Matt is currently the director of business development at Q Ideas – an organization responsible for bringing thought leaders together for the sake of a flourishing society and the common good. Garnering features on ABC, HuffPost, and USA Today, Q hosts global leadership forums and conferences, including an annual conference in Nashville. Prior to joining the organization, Matt interned for one of Nashville’s fastest-growing health care startups. He holds two degrees (a B.B.A. in marketing and a Master of Divinity) from Lipscomb University, where he also earned the award of Mr. Lipscomb.

1LT Gabrielle Bloodsaw high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaA COMMITMENT TO SERVICE

1LT Gabrielle Bloodsaw | Chattanooga Central High School, Class of 2007

A commissioned First Lieutenant officer in the U.S. Army, Gabrielle has worked with hundreds of indigent individuals over the course of her career – helping them with legal needs, as well as ensuring that indigent Americans have access to life’s basic needs. She is currently ascending into the JAG Corps to lend her legal skills to her fellow servicemen and women. Gabrielle earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2012, and then attended John Marshall Law School, where she graduated in the top 10% of her class and received the Graduate of the Year award.   

Taylor Nicole Rogers high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaGOING GLOBAL

Taylor Nicole Rogers | Silverdale Baptist Academy, Class of 2015

Taylor was traveling the world even before graduating from Silverdale in 2015. She continues to be a globetrotter, immersing herself in international culture while remaining laser-focused on her dreams in the Big Apple as a journalism, politics, and religious studies student. Internships with organizations like Yahoo! Inc. and CNN Business have afforded her invaluable experiences in both writing and reporting many stories seen on-air, online, and in print. In her senior year at New York University, Taylor is chasing after God’s call on her life and aspires to become a business reporter.

Keionta Davis high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaGAINING SUPER BOWL GLORY

Keionta Davis | Red Bank High School, Class of 2011

After graduating from Red Bank High School, Keionta earned a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. During his time as a Moc, he played in 50 career games and recorded 31 sacks, earning All-American status during his junior and senior seasons. Keionta was signed by the New England Patriots in 2017, and after an impressive preseason in 2018, was placed on the team’s 53-man roster. The defensive end helped the Patriots earn their 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in the 2019 Super Bowl.

Shelby Garren Jaeger high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaA SWEET LIFE

Shelby Garren Jaeger | Soddy Daisy High School, Class of 2010

Shelby and her sister, Stephanie, had always dreamed of running a family business. In 2018, they decided to take a leap into entrepreneurship with their husbands and purchased a NoBaked Cookie Dough franchise. Shelby and Stephanie had sampled the wildly successful cookie dough in Nashville, and the two discovered that there was a market for the unique dessert in Chattanooga. Their first storefront opened in January 2019 on Frazier Avenue. Before entering the dessert business, Shelby found a career in the sports talent management field, supporting professional golfers on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour.

Jake Raulston high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaBANKING ON BREWERIES

Jake Raulston | McCallie School, Class of 2009

For Jake, what began as a humble hobby of home brewing has turned into a successful enterprise – Chattanooga’s own Naked River Brewing Company, a fully operational brewpub. The enterprise officially took off in late 2017, when Jake left his job as a geological engineer to develop the concept, including an extensive beer list and barbecue-themed menu, with partner and head brewer Nathan Woods. While his nights are now spent at Naked River, Jake spends his days building and expanding breweries in the area with his family’s company, T.S. Raulston. 

Matthew Crownover high achieving high school graduate from chattanoogaTHE PERFECT PITCH

Matthew Crownover | Ringgold High School, Class of 2012

Aptly named “Most Athletic” his senior year of high school, Matthew was on the verge of a stellar baseball career. He earned a baseball scholarship to Clemson University, where he was named “Rookie of the Year” in 2013 and “ACC Pitcher of the Year” in 2015. Also in 2015, Matthew was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award – the most prestigious award in amateur baseball. He graduated with honors after three years at Clemson, and then was drafted in the sixth round and signed by the Washington Nationals. He’s currently pitching for the Nationals. CS

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