Student Leadership Johns Creek, in partnership with Mercer University’s Tift College of Education and the Johns Creek Historical Society, received a $2,500 Georgia Humanities grant in May to fund high school student research on the history and preservation of the Macedonia African Methodist Church Cemetery in North Fulton County.
In early 2022, two special events – at Johns Creek High School on January 27 and on Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta on February 18 – will showcase four student-produced documentary films. These films cover topics such as the history of Macedonia Cemetery, the relationships between those who lived in the Johns Creek area, the importance of historical research and ultimately, why is it important to preserve such historical cemeteries.
Four groups of students in the 2023 Student Leadership Johns Creek cohort representing three local high schools conducted oral history interviews and archival research to produce these documentaries.
- A group from Northview High School did a film on the historical context of enslavement and racial discrimination during the Reconstruction Era through the 20th-century Progressive Era.
- A group from Chattahoochee High School did a film on the legacy of the Cherokee Nation in North Georgia and how the lives of local farmers, several of whom were of Cherokee descent, intersected with Black residents who are buried in the cemetery.
- A group from Johns Creek High School created a film highlighting the importance of historical research and genealogy by focusing on the life and family of April Waters, a former enslaved African American who is buried in the cemetery.
- A group from Northview High School focused on the future of the cemetery.
“The people we have been able to meet during the process are truly awe inspiring,” said Brady Carnesale, a sophomore at Johns Creek High School. “Not only have I been able to speak with these amazing people, but also their wisdom and expertise make me want to do whatever I can to make a difference.”
“Growing up in a new city such as Johns Creek often makes us forget what the place we live in was like before we lived here. An opportunity to work on a project involving the Macedonia Cemetery was an enlightening experience filled with curiosity and excitement. We uncovered the unknown past and made connections to its future,” added Shruthi Balachander, a junior at Northview High School.