33 students chosen as Governor's Honors district nominees

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Several intelligent, talented students from Bartow County's two school systems are one step closer to experiencing a summer that could change their lives. 

Twenty-three Bartow County students and 10 Cartersville City students have been named district nominees for the 2019 Georgia Governor's Honors Program and now move on to the state level of the competition.

Students who end up being selected as finalists next spring will spend four weeks in an elite summer residential program — conducted next year from June 16 to July 13 at Berry College in Rome — designed to provide intellectually gifted and artistically talented sophomores and juniors with challenging educational opportunities not usually available to them during the regular school year. 

During those four weeks, they will attend classes in the mornings and afternoons in their specific area of study: Agricultural Research, Biotechnology and Science; Communicative Arts; Dance; Engineering (computer and software engineering, mechanical design or mechanical and electrical engineering); Mathematics; Music (brass, jazz, percussion, piano, strings, voice or woodwind); Science (biology, chemistry or physics); Social Studies; Theater; Visual Arts; and World Languages (Chinese, French, German, Latin or Spanish). 

The 2018-19 district nominees are:

  • Juniors Bryana Candelaria (Communicative Arts), Bethany Perdue (Communicative Arts), Alexandra Chebat (Visual Arts) and Brandon Lawhorn (Theater) and sophomores Brentley Durham (Science) and Rachel Guice (Science) from Adairsville High School.
  • Juniors Alexa Halpern (Communicative Arts), Neleh McGivern (Dance) and Erick Rodriguez (Music: Marimba) and sophomores Olivia Flynn (Communicative Arts), Jaden Musacchio (Social Studies) and Bryan Wickenheiser (Science) from Cass High School.
  • Juniors Abigail Matthews (Communicative Arts), Kaitlyn Cramer (Music: Flute), Jeremy Dimalanta (Music: Marimba), William Evans (Music: Euphonium), Olivia Howren (Dance), Madisyn Jenkins (Music: Clarinet), Ana Novo (Voice) and Calvin Stovall (Music: Piano) and sophomores Bradley Lorren (Engineering), Avery Pittman (Music: Tuba) and Alana Walker (Music: Clarinet) from Woodland High School.
  • Chloe Bacon (Theater), Kevin Barnhart (Music: Voice), Jackson Cline (Mathematics), Phaedra Coleman (Mathematics), Jayla Cunningham (Theater), Linda Duong (Spanish), Fardia Karim  (Mathematics), Nuren Lara (Social Studies), Nate McDonald (Engineering: Mechanical Design) and Anna Lea Rentz (Theater) from Cartersville High School.  

These nominees will be invited to complete an online state-level application by Jan. 4. The semifinalists selected from that group will be notified Jan. 25 and will have the opportunity to interview or audition at Berry College Feb. 23. Finalists for the program, which is fully funded by the Georgia General Assembly, will be announced March 29.

"The students who were chosen this year exhibit the diversity we have at Cartersville High School," GHP Coordinator Mindy Surrett said. "Cartersville is not only strong academically, but as you can see, we are strong in the arts and STEM courses also. We have mostly new nominees this year, and half of our nominees are sophomores. I feel certain that these young students will benefit from going through this process and become finalists either this year or possibly next year."

Surrett said she thinks the district has a good chance of having some finalists again this year. 

"Last year, our nominees were older, and several had been through the process as sophomores," she said. "I think that knowing what to expect out of this process was a contributing factor to getting four finalists last year. Our nominees this year are dedicated to their fields of study and, I believe, have a great chance of being chosen as state finalists."

Bartow County's nominees also are strong in academics, the arts and extracurricular activities, according to GHP Coordinator Paula Camp.

"One hundred percent of the district nominees at Adairsville High School are enrolled in Advanced Placement courses this year, with half additionally enrolled in dual-enrollment courses," she said. "The majority of the nominees are also in the top 10 percent of their class, and all participate in extracurricular activities and clubs.

"The statistics are similar at Cass High School, where 100 percent of the nominees are enrolled in AP courses and are either members of the National Honor Society or Beta Club and other clubs. In this group, you will find award-winning writers, poets and choreographers.

"At Woodland High School, 100 percent of the nominees are honors, AP and/or dual-enrolled students. Ninety-one percent are involved in band, chorus or dance, and all are involved in extracurricular activities and clubs. These statistics speak volumes about the caliber of the students representing the Bartow County School District. We are excited to see how they advance in this program as well as in their post-secondary education."

The system also is doing more this school year to help the nominees prepare for what's involved in the process, like offering supplementary mock-interview opportunities, according to Camp. 

"We are pouring additional resources into this program because it's proven to provide students with unique academic, cultural and social enrichment opportunities, which will all serve as good preparation for post-secondary work," she said.