A group of Bartow County's brightest students has advanced to the next round of a competition that could offer them a life-changing experience next summer.
Twenty-five Bartow County students and 10 Cartersville City students have been chosen as district nominees for the 2020 Georgia Governor's Honors Program and now will compete at the state level.
Students who end up as finalists in April will spend four weeks in an elite summer residential program — conducted next year from June 14 to July 11 at Berry College in Rome — designed to provide intellectually gifted and artistically talented rising juniors and seniors with challenging educational opportunities not usually available to them in a typical high school classroom.
The program is designed to provide students with academic, social and cultural enrichment needed to become the next generation of global innovators, leaders and critical thinkers.
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 programming, 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 Performance; Visual Arts; and World Languages (Chinese, French, German, Latin or Spanish).
Selected as 2019-20 district nominees were:
- Brentley Durham (Science), Rachael Guice (Science), Landon Cress (Social Studies), Colbi Mastrariggo (Social Studies), Abigail Simpson (Social Studies), Edward DiCarlo (Theater Performance), Kate Faulk (Theater Performance) and Sydney Irons (Music) from Adairsville High School.
- Aislinn Leckwold (Engineering), Bryan Wickenheiser (Agricultural Science), Aniya Perry (Science), Aaron Whitlock (Social Studies), Maki Barnes (Communicative Arts), Camden Briggs (Music-Instrument), Kayla Campbell (Theater Performance) and Oshauna Finch (Theater Performance) from Cass High School.
- Makayla Dowdy (Communicative Arts), Jayla Chastain (Communicative Arts), Ellie Eanes (Social Studies), Eryn Gentry (Social Studies), Bryson Stephens (Engineering-Mechanical and Electrical), Alanna Murdock (Theater Performance), Mya Moffitt (Dance), Ben Novo (Music-Instrument) and Alana Hennon (Visual Arts) from Woodland High School.
- Bailey Anderson (Computer Software Engineering), Kevin Barnhart (Music-Voice), Jackson Cline (Mathematics), Jenny Crum (Communicative Arts), Mae Easter (Theater Performance), Julianna Hartley (Social Studies), Elizabeth Kim (Social Studies), Nate McDonald (Engineering-Mechanical Design), Chloe Satterfield (Social Studies) and Alice Terry (Mathematics) from Cartersville High School.
These nominees have been invited to complete an online state-level application by Jan. 8. The semifinalists selected from that group will be notified Jan. 24 and will have the opportunity to interview or audition at Berry College Feb. 22 and 29. Finalists and alternates for the program, which is fully funded by the Georgia General Assembly, will be announced April 3.
Bartow's 25 nominees — two more than last year — are a "well-prepared group," GHP Coordinator Paula Camp said.
"Counselors, administrators and community members poured into these children and were pleased to see poise, professionalism, ambition and effective communication skills," she said. “I’m confident that Bartow County will, once again, be represented in the Governor’s Honors Program. Our high-caliber district nominees are well-prepared for the challenges that await them.”
Cartersville GHP Coordinator Mindy Surrett said the teachers at CHS nominated 29 students in nine different areas of concentration for GHP, and those making the selections conducted interviews over two days to fill the 10 district slots they were allotted.
“Many of the 29 students were nominated in more than one area, which is a testament to how talented the student body is at Cartersville High School,” she said. “The 10 students who were chosen are very strong candidates in their respective areas.”
Surrett also said three out of the school’s 10 district nominees were nominated last year.
“I believe that those students have an advantage since they know what to expect and can focus on making improvements over what they experienced last year,” she said.
The coordinator said she likes the school system’s chances of having finalists this year.
“I believe that we have a very good chance to have most, if not all, of our nominees invited for a state interview,” she said. “Being chosen as a state finalist from the pool of state interviews depends mostly on how strong the other candidates are from other schools.”
The program may only last four weeks, but the benefits participants receive from it will carry over into adulthood, according to the coordinators.
“Entrance into the prestigious Governor’s Honors Program would allow our finalists to significantly deepen their knowledge base and meet like-minded individuals in their specialized area of interest,” Camp said. “Deep training and extensive hands-on experience allows for practical and experiential exposure, along with theoretical understanding of the concepts relevant to their fields.”
“The benefits from attending GHP will continue throughout that student’s lifetime,” Surrett said. “Every student who has attended always returns with lifelong friendships with other GHP attendees who enjoy learning as much as they do.”