What do a Publix employee, straight-A student, baker and Georgia’s Cheerleader of the Year have in common?
They’re all Whitney Lee.
Whitney is a 17-year-old senior at Buford High School and is this edition’s Student of the Week. The daughter of LaTonya and Willie Lee and sister to big brother, Willie III (known as “T”), Whitney has attended Buford schools since her freshman year.
Academically, Whitney describes herself as “self-driven” and has maintained a 4.0 GPA (unweighted) with a rigorous course load, taking honors and Advanced Placement classes while being dual enrolled with the University of North Georgia. She is involved with several school-related clubs, including the National Honor Society (two years), the Spanish National Honor Society (two years), FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America — two years) and is a Student Council Senior Class Representative.
Whitney says her favorite teacher is her honors history teacher, Mrs. Callie Shoemaker.
“Anyone that is lucky enough to have her as a teacher will know she really enjoys it and finds a way to make history interesting and fun to learn,” Whitney said.
Whitney has been on the varsity sideline cheer team for three years where she has been voted by her teammates as captain for two of those years. She also received the 2020 Leadership Award. She is a member of Buford’s competition cheer team and, in 2021, was named the GCCA 5A-7A Georgia Cheerleader of the Year. In addition to those athletic endeavors, Whitney says she hopes to return to track and field in the spring.
Her involvement in FCCLA and cheer programs have been among Whitney’s most impactful high school moments.
“It makes me happy when I am made aware of the gratitude felt from FCCLA in our community with real people in the city of Buford,” she said. “I never knew how many youth cheerleaders in my community are happy to come out and support the school and always have a kind word to share if they see me in passing. I really do enjoy cheer and working with the youth programs during the summer.”
For fun, Whitney enjoys cooking, baking (even though she doesn’t like chocolate), shopping and traveling. If she could stay in one class all day, Whitney would choose Mrs. Jennifer Lopez’s family and consumer sciences class. On top of her school life, Whitney also works up to 15 hours each week in her part-time job at Publix.
She cites her grandmother as having been the most influential person in her life.
“She has lived through so many stages of life and has shared a lot of it with me; helping me better understand good or bad, I can get through anything, and that God will never give me more than I can handle as long as I believe and lean on Him,” Whitney said. “She also loves to cook and bake and has shared a lot of recipes with me — like my great-great grandma’s famous sour cream pound cake.”
After graduation, Whitney hopes to pursue a degree in finance at a four-year college or university. She said she wants to be remembered by Buford as “a caring, respectful and hardworking student … who was always humble, with a fun energy that others enjoyed being around; someone who willingly offered her time and service to help others.”
The Buford City Schools Student of the Week spotlight is made possible by the generosity of the City of Buford.