John Ellis embodies all that is good about Decatur. He represents all that is possible when a community celebrates diversity and strives to ensure that all its members are included in the fabric of daily life. It is these qualities that shape our youngest citizens into young adults who are confident, loving, creative, and eager to step beyond our small borders into the world with outstretched arms, ready to embrace friends they have yet to meet.
John is a musician, artist, and writer. He lives with his two moms and younger brother. He also has two dads who live close by and play an active role in his life. John has resided in Decatur 18 years, his whole life. He is keenly aware of how Decatur is unique, in part from hearing his parents’ stories. They grew up in the South and came from religiously conservative backgrounds. They were gay and didn’t really know it, and they didn’t know how to communicate that to their parents. “I feel like anyone growing up in Decatur can really explore oneself to the fullest extent. In terms of starting a foundation for a lifetime of growth, Decatur is a really good place to start. It is just so accepting, incredibly nurturing, and loving.”
John has much to be proud of from his years at Decatur High. He has won a national award for a website illustration and a multimedia story. The journalism website at school he helped overhaul, and the corresponding magazine, Carpe Diem, won a Pacemaker Award, which is considered to be the “Pulitzer Prize” of student journalism. John will be attending Guilford College in the fall and plans to major in Psychology and minor in Fine Art. “Right now, I’m interested in art therapy. I’m not dead-set on that, but the one thing I do know, is that I want to help people. I’m very excited to embark on this next chapter. I think about what’s going to be next and what’s been, and I realize that I’m not done with Decatur. I’m not severing attachments, I’m just moving on. I’ll be back.”