By Curt Yeomans
Osayande "Osay" Imarhiagbe spends his afternoons in Riverdale High School's technology lab scanning through folders on a computer desktop, and working on web site designs. His goal in life, though, is to become a doctor.
Imarhiagbe, 17, a senior at Riverdale, plans to leave the technology field after four years in his school's Technology Student Association chapter, and begin studying medicine at Emory University in the fall.
But he still has one project to complete before all of that happens: He has to finish developing a web site for the Georgia Department of Transportation to encourage teenagers to practice safe driving skills.
"It's something that I feel, for lack of a better word, is an honor to be asked by such an organization to do a web site for them," Imarhiagbe said.
Imarhiagbe and fellow Riverdale student Raven Hathcock, 17, a junior, are both leaders in the state for technology, but each in their own way.
While Imarhiagbe is developing a web site for the Georgia Department of Transportation, Hathcock was elected last month as the state Technology Student Association's new president. The pair said their individual achievements are an overall sign of the chapter's success.
"It just shows how much our chapter is out there and recognized across the state as being one of the best," Imarhiagbe said.
Imarhiagbe said he has worked on about eight designs for the teen driving web site since last November, when he was asked do the web site. Throughout the school year, he does graphics for the Clayton County Public Schools web site, and is one of several Riverdale technology students who works on modifications for the district's web site every summer.
Riverdale technology teacher Steve Price called Imarhiagbe "my shining star. He's the best I've got in web design."
Over the past month, he has worked on his final design, which he said includes text that appears handwritten, scraps of paper and photos. "I wanted it to be something young people would like to go to," Imarhiagbe said. "It looks sort of like a scrapbook."
Although 11 other former and current Riverdale students have held state TSA offices - including Imarhiagbe - Hathcock is the first student from the school to be elected as the state president. Hathcock said she plans to work on growing the organization's presence across the state by introducing it to schools where chapters do not already exist.
"I mostly just want to try to be a good president," Hathcock said. "I want to try to get TSA really out there, and get it in some of the schools that don't already have a TSA chapter."
Hathcock had to be encouraged to run for the highest office in the state TSA, though, after losing a bid for the state secretary position last year.
"I didn't want to run again because losing the first time was disheartening," Hathcock said. "But Mr. Price encouraged me to run for this office."
Price said he pushed Hathcock to run for state president because of the impression she made on people when she talked about her ideas for improving the state TSA organization during her previous run for a state office.
"They [other technology teachers] told me she and the girl she lost to were the two best candidates running for state office last year," Price said. The other girl was a senior this year, so they kept telling me 'Run her [Hathcock] for president! Run her for president!'"
As the sun sets on Imarhiagbe's high school career, and rises on Hathcock's tenure as president, Hathcock said she wants to be a positive example of what students at Riverdale and across Georgia are like. Her first meeting and training session with the other state officers will take place next month, she said.
"I think I'm really going to make a positive difference for this school, and for the state," she said.