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16 Bartow, Cartersville students selected as GHP semifinalists

Sixteen students in Bartow County are one step closer to being chosen for a prestigious honor.

Nine Bartow County and seven Cartersville City students have been selected as semifinalists for the 2017 Governor’s Honors Program, a four-week, summer residential program for gifted and talented high school students in Georgia.

From June 18 to July 15, the rising juniors and seniors who are chosen as finalists will attend classes at Berry College in Rome in the mornings and afternoons in specific areas of study — agricultural science, communicative arts, dance, engineering, mathematics, music, science, social studies, theater, visual arts and world languages — and will participate in a variety of social and instructional opportunities every evening.

Adairsville High School’s semifinalists are Helen Bryant, music (piano); Chandler Smith, science; and Trinity Conant, social studies.

Representing Cass High are Emily Tracy, communicative arts; Grace Weeks, communicative arts; Brianna Gonsahn, social studies; and Charli-Anne Shane, theater.

Woodland High’s semifinalists were Carah Camron, science; and Christian Welch, science.

Students chosen from Cartersville High School were Will Bentley, technology; Clay Duke, music (voice); Maggie Fields, dance; Catie Heilman, art; Walt Morris, science; Ivy Nelson, social studies; and Juan Zazueta, social studies.

“All of our nominees should be proud of their hard work,” said Paula Camp, coordinator for Title III, ESOL, Title I parental involvement, migrant and gifted program for Bartow County. “It is a tremendous opportunity, and it allows our students experiences that will enrich their educational careers as global thinkers and leaders. We look forward to seeing our students advance as part of the Governor’s Honors Program.”

Math teacher Mindy Surrett, who oversees Cartersville’s GHP program, said she is “super excited to have seven semifinalists this year.”

“We have several students who were nominated last year and this year but did not make it to the semifinalist stage last year,” she said. “They have worked very hard over the past year to better themselves in their nomination area. This semifinal nomination just validates what they have strived for over the past 365 days.”

While Bartow County had fewer semifinalists this year — 14 students were chosen last year — Cartersville saw an increase.

“Last year, we had 30 percent of our nominations chosen as semifinalists,” Surrett said. “This year, 70 percent of our nominations were chosen as semifinalists. That’s an increase of 133 percent. Woohoo!”

Camp said Bartow County held three days of district interviews at all three high schools “with some of our most talented and gifted nominees.”

“We are extremely proud of our students, their auditions and the application process as they continue further to state interviews,” she said. “Our students have been selected by invitation-only, along with close to 1,700 other students across the state, as semifinalists to compete and perform in their individual area of nomination.”

The next step in the journey is individual state interviews, which last anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes, Feb. 25 at Berry College.

“Interviews consist of an extensive interview, a completion of a performance task and even an exam, depending on the area of nomination,” Camp said. “These performance tasks and interview sessions are carefully selected to show students’ expertise and knowledge in the area in which they were nominated.”

Surrett said the semifinalists’ personal interviews will be “in front of a committee of adults who have expertise in the students’ area of nomination,” and music and dance students “will have to perform and be judged on their performance.”

Camp added the county’s semifinalists have been “making every effort in order to prepare for the state-level interview process in their area of nomination” ever since finding out from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement on Jan. 27 that they’d been selected.  

The finalists who will be invited to participate in GHP this summer will be announced March 31.

“Every year that we have sent students to GHP for the summer, those students return to Cartersville High with a renewed love of learning,” Surrett said. “Because of this, the teachers and administration of Cartersville High School encourage our nominees in every way possible.”

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