2022 | FACTBOOK 29
Ronald “Ron” Pope, who wrote the hit song “A Drop in
the Ocean,” grew up in Cobb and attended Wheeler High
School. Marco Restrepo, who wrote the hit song “Get Up &
Go” under the name A. Tone Da Priest, was born in Marietta
and grew up in Atlanta.
Chris and Rich Robinson, founding members of the Black
Crowes, went to Walton High School.
Brandon Stanton, a Marietta native, is a photographer, blogger
and author of “Humans of New York.” Since 2010, Stanton
has taken hundreds of portraits of people living and working
primarily in New York City, accompanied by bits of conversations
about their lives. “Humans of New York” has gone
beyond the United States, capturing people and their stories in
more than 20 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Uganda, Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Mexico.
Vocalist Mac Powell and guitarist Mark Lee formed the
Christian rock band Third Day while they were students at
McEachern High School, and the band went on to win multiple
Carol Aebersold and her twin daughters, Chanda Bell and
Christa Pitts, are creators of “Elf on the Shelf,” the Christmas
book that since publication in 2005 has seen millions of people
invite a little elf into their homes during the holidays. All three
are Cobb County natives.
Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon, of Vinings, is
widely regarded as one of the best directors on Broadway. In
recent years, he has turned his sights to television, winning
acclaim for directing live TV versions of musicals like “The
Wiz” and “Hairspray.” Another Tony winner, singer and actor
Shuler Paul Hensley, grew up in Marietta. The Georgia High
School Musical Theatre Awards are named in Schuler’s honor.
Cobb-based artist Thomas Arvid has received national
acclaim for his photorealistic oil paintings.
Billy Joe Royal, who wrote “Down in the Boondocks,” grew
up in Marietta.
Cobb has had more than its fair share of accomplished
athletes come from the area, including 2019 FIFA World
Cup champion Emily Sonnett, a Marietta resident. Another
soccer star was born in Kennesaw: Jane Campbell was the
youngest goalkeeper ever called to a national training camp
for the senior United States women’s national soccer team.
Aries Merritt, an Olympic gold medalist and hurdler, hails
Kendell Williams, a Kell High School graduate, was a seven
time NCAA champion in track and field for the University
of Georgia and went on to compete for the U.S. in the 2016
Olympics, and recently finished fifth in the heptathlon in the
2020 games in Tokyo.
Marietta resident Daniel Haugh won the first NCAA national
championship for Kennesaw State by winning the hammer
throw in 2019. He went on to compete in the 2020 Olympic
games in Tokyo and finished 11th in the event.
Locals can find another home-grown athlete at the ballpark
when the Atlanta Braves play at Truist Park: shortstop Dansby
Swanson is a Marietta High School alum. Pittsburgh traded
for infielder Michael Chavis, who is a Marietta native and
Sprayberry graduate, at the 2021 trade deadline. The former
first-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox joined former Pope
standout Duane Underwood as a member of the Pirates.
Walton’s Carter Kieboom plays for the Washington Nationals,
Mount Paran Christian’s Taylor Trammell is a member
of the Seattle Mariners, Pope’s Stevie Wilkerson plays for the
Baltimore Orioles and fellow Greyhound Nate Lowe is with the
Texas Rangers. Kell’s Adam Morgan pitches for the Chicago
Cubs and former Kennesaw Mountain star Tyler Stephenson is
a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds.
North Cobb’s Harry Ford was selected by the Mariners in the
first round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
Cobb has recently sent a number of players to the NFL.
Former Harrison High School quarterback Justin Fields got
his college football start at the University of Georgia before
joining Ohio State, where he led the Buckeyes to a National
Championship appearance. Fields was the 11th overall pick of
the 2021 NFL draft and was selected by the Bears.
Sprayberry has four former players in the league. The Yellow
Jackets have running back Jerick McKinnon (Kansas City), defensive
end Jabari Zuniga (N.Y. Jets) and kicker Rodrigo Blankenship
(Indianapolis) and the newest member in the league is 2021 third
round draft pick Trey Sermon with the San Francisco 49ers.
Bradley Chubb was selected with the No. 5 overall selection
Kenny Leon Kendell Williams
photo: AP Photo/Martin Meissner
photo: AP Photo/John Amis
photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS