A local valedictorian from the Class of 2017 has moved on to graduate as a distinguished graduate from the United States Air Force Academy.

2nd Lt. Mark A. Watson, 2017 valedictorian for North Cobb Christian School, graduated from the academy on May 26, completing his degree as rank No. 4 academically and No. 29 overall in his class of 1,019 graduates.

The title of distinguished graduate designation is earned by being in the top 10% of the graduating class for academic, military and physical fitness.

Watson also earned two Eagle and Fledgling Awards for being the No. 1 ranked cadet in physical fitness and No. 1 ranked cadet for management majors. The Eagle and Fledgling Award is one of USAFA’s most coveted honors awarded to cadets for outstanding achievement in academics, military training and extracurricular activities.

Watson was commissioned by his grandfather, retired Maj. Don Grissom of Marietta. Watson will begin his service at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, where he’ll await orders for pilot training.

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