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John Oakes SOTW 1_28_22

John Oakes is an 18-year-old senior at Buford High School. A resident of Lawrenceville, John is the son of Michelle and Peter Oakes, younger brother to Hayla Stone and older brother to Patrick Oakes, a sophomore at BHS. 

A Buford “lifetimer” and standout performer, John has been schooled in the ways of AAA Excellence since kindergarten and represents all three areas as a scholar, performer and athlete. 

Having maintained a 3.9 GPA throughout high school, John has taken a total of 10 AP classes and was awarded the AP Scholar award by the College Board for having scored a four or five on four or more AP exams. He has been a member of the Beta Club for three years.

Athletically, John has invested many hours into Buford’s sports teams, having played baseball for nine years, football for two years and basketball for seven years.

John has been involved in the schools’ arts programs since second grade and in band since fifth grade. He has spent his four years of high school with the BHS Marching Band of Wolves — the first two years playing trombone and the last two years as the school’s first male color guard member. During this senior year, John was named guard captain. He has also played his trombone in the BHS Wind Ensemble all four years of high school and is a member of the fine arts’ newly formed Tri-M chapter for students in the musical arts (band, chorus or musical theater).

The arts programs at school have impacted John deeply, he says. Outside of school, he dedicates a good deal of time to practicing his choreography for color guard and his music for wind ensemble. He said color guard has had the most impact on him, adding, “I have grown so much from the activity in many ways and have learned a lot about myself I wouldn’t have learned before. Also working hard to become a successful leader has taught me so much about the way I act, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and taught me so much more than I ever would’ve thought.”

John’s standout teachers include Mrs. Bethany Phillips, Mr. Erik Mason and Mrs. Bridget Wildes. 

“I would probably stay in my AP lit class, taught by Mrs. Phillips, all day because I love her teaching style and the people in the class. I’m never bored and always look forward to it,” John said. “Mr. Mason and Mrs. Wildes are my favorites. I can’t pick between them because they have both taught me and helped me so much and have fostered growth in me … things I didn’t see in myself.”

John says seeing his best friend, Aria Mason, as color guard captain last year inspired him to go for the position. 

“When I saw her spin or do something for the coaches,” John recalled, “it was so powerful that I thought: I want to be like her next year. I want her spot. And now I have it. She continues to inspire me every day by outdoing herself again and again and always being there for other people.”

John hopes to attend either Auburn or the University of Georgia and obtain a degree in education. He said, “I would like to come back here to BHS to teach kids and hopefully inspire them the way my teachers have inspired me and guided me through high school.”

With John’s willingness to try something new, he has a few words of advice for underclassmen. “If you want to join something that people like you don’t usually do, go for it, grab it by the horns, and conquer it. Don’t live in fear of conflict, because sometimes a little friction is needed to resolve something or fix it.”

The Buford City Schools Student Spotlight is made possible by the generosity of the City of Buford.

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