Portal High School
Marjani Hall is the daughter of Alfonzo and Lori-Linell Hall of Portal.
She was accepted by several universities, but she selected Spelman College in Atlanta, where she plans to pursue a double major in political science and visual art.
She also hopes to attend law school at either Harvard University or Vanderbilt after completing her undergraduate degree.
Though she received a full-scholarship offer from Vanderbilt, attending college close to her brother Jordan, a student at Morehouse, helped make her decision. Fortunately being named her school’s STAR student brought her more than one full-scholarship offer as Spelman also bestowed upon her a full-tuition, Dean’s Scholarship.
Hall has been accepted into the school’s honors program as well.
“My parents have always valued education, and they’ve encouraged me to succeed,” she said.
Hall plans to channel her current success and work toward a career in politics as either an elected official or a diplomat. Already experienced in multi-tasking, she was a basketball player, cheerleader, and president of both her class and the Beta Club. And she still found time to take two years of Chinese off campus.
“I’m a very competitive person, so in addition to the academic challenge, I’ll miss playing sports,” Hall said.
She is looking forward to college and the opportunities that the honors program will afford her such as travel and study abroad.
- Hayley Greene
Coming from a family where music is the livelihood of the household, Charles Hancock will carry his love of music with him when he enrolls at Georgia Tech in August – but only as a minor, for now.
Hancock is the son of Georgia Southern University music professors Sarah and Kyle Hancock and he is the valedictorian for the Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology.
Hancock has attended CCAT since it opened in 2002 when he was a fifth grader.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “The school is a smaller area and doesn’t have the controlling social atmosphere larger schools have. It’s a different approach to learning that worked great for me.”
Hancock attributed his success in school to “having really good teachers. Smart friends and family. And I can focus pretty well and learn information quickly.”
Hancock said he was accepted into the honors program at Georgia Tech and he will major in computer science. But that could change to music or even another field like geology after he takes a few courses.
Following in his parents’ musical footsteps, Hancock has taken piano lessons since he was in first grade and he has been in the Statesboro Youth Chorale since it restarted in 2005. Also, he has taken chorus and music composition classes while jointly enrolled at CCAT and Georgia Southern.
“I’m looking forward to the next challenge,” Hancock said. “It’ll be exciting.”
- James Healy
Southeast Bulloch High School
Natasha Polite is the daughter of Martha Geiger of Brooklet and Albright Polite of Richmond Hill, and since she was born weighing only 2 lbs 2oz., her mother often refers to her as a “miracle child.”
“My mom is my inspiration, and none of this would be possible without her care and guidance,” said Polite.
Being named valedictorian was always her goal growing up.
“It makes me really happy to know that I’ve achieved my goal,” she said.
Her academic accomplishments have earned her acceptance to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she will major in biomedical engineering, which is the study of prosthetic research and design.
“I like the medical field, but didn’t want to pursue one-on-one care,” she said. “Instead I enjoy research, and it motivates me to think that I could help develop something that could help my family, especially my grandmother.”
Polite credits her health care science teacher Sharon Pye for fueling her interest in health sciences.
“Anatomy and health occupations were my favorite courses, and having Ms. Pye, a former nurse, as an instructor was great,” said Polite.
She also believes A.P. literature teacher Linda Fix helped prepare her well for college.
Polite has been involved in many extra-curricular activities at SEB, including student council.
“It was encouraging as a student to see the ideas we presented to our principal during our monthly meetings actually be put into action,” she said. “It was our principal’s first year, and I like to think we (the council) were helpful to him in becoming part of the school.”
- Hayley Greene
Statesboro High School
Brett Reichard is the son of Jim and Linda Reichard of Statesboro, and he has been accepted to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he plans to major in either civil or environmental engineering.
“I love construction, the outdoors, and my dad’s a geologist, so those led me to this field,” he said.
Reichard’s father, a professor at Georgia Southern University, along with his mother, has always stressed education.
“I can remember my mother reading to me and quizzing me with flashcards and worksheets when I was younger,” Reichard said. “My parents have made this honor possible.”
Reichard also credits Chad Prosser, his former calculus teacher, for mathematics being his favorite subject. “Coach Prosser is a great teacher, and he made learning fun,” he said.
Being named valedictorian comes after years of academic competition and hard work.
“I’ve been neck-and-neck for years with my friend and next-door neighbor,” Reichard said. “We’ve been friends since 1996, when we moved here from Indiana. I’m valedictorian, he’s salutatorian, and we’re still friends.”
Reichard has been involved in several extra-curricular activities including math team, science quiz bowl and soccer.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was in third grade, and our high school soccer season ended three weeks ago, so it’s hard to believe that I won’t play competitively anymore,” he said.
A Governor’s Honors Program nominee in mathematics, Reichard spent six weeks at Valdosta State University last summer.
“That experience helped prepare me for college as well,” he said. “Living on campus for six weeks and having to do everything on my own, taught me about the independence needed for college life.”
- Hayley Greene
The competition for the valedictorian of Bulloch Academy’s 28-member Class of 2010 was as fierce as any of the Gators’ athletic competitions on the field, diamond or court.
“We have a lot of smart kids in our class,” said Sarah Brown, who was recently named the school’s top graduate. “It was between a bunch of us. I was really excited when I was named the valedictorian. I’m nervous about giving the speech though.”
Sarah, the 18-year old daughter of David and Susan Brown, has attended Bulloch Academy since kindergarten.
“I have always been a pretty good student,” she said. “I think I have really flourished in BA’s small-school environment. I have had really good teachers in the lower, middle and upper schools and have made a lot of life-long friends.”
The co-STAR student and Honor Graduate doesn’t have a favorite subject, seeming to like all of them equally well.
“I enjoy English, history, math, science but I don’t consider myself a book work,” she said. “I don’t read or study that much, although I read more than I used to because of AP English
But there is something she has a real passion for.
“I’ve been riding horses since I was 7 years old,” Brown said.
She has been involved in equestrian activities (English) for the past 11 years, has been a 4-H Regional Reserve Champion twice, won the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Reserve Champion and has qualified for and participated in the IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association) National Competition for the past two years.
Headed for the University of Georgia, Brown will start ‘Freshman College’ in Athens this summer. She’s already picked up some college credit through AP courses at BA and the Accel program at Georgia Southern University.
- Rahn Hutcheson
Trinity Christian School
The valedictorian of Trinity Christian School’s senior class, Sally Gilbreth recently earned one of the top scholarships offered by Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.
She was awarded a “Trustees Scholarships” by Georgia College and State University. The award includes $6,000 cash per year for four years and a cash stipend for a study abroad summer session. She hopes to earn both a major in math and minor in physics.
She has attended Trinity since the first grade and said Donna McKenna, with whom she has taken numerous advanced math and physics classes, is her favorite teacher.
Gilbreth’s parents are Robert and Teena Gilbreth. Robert, who is also known as “Tony,” works in the customer service department of a large utility company. Mom Teena works as a secretary for a local law firm. Gilbreth’s older brother Ben is a junior at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, majoring in industrial management.
Gilbreth’s favorite subject always has been history, because, she said, “we go camping a lot, and quite often stay near historical sites like Civil War battlefields.”
When asked what profession she wants to pursue, however, Gilbreth stated matter of factly, “a Math teacher, because it’s a lot easier to get a job teaching math than history.”
Gilbreth has been a mainstay of the Trinity Math Team, which won a competition at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah two years in a row.
Gilbreath also is part of the girls basketball team. In addition to her athletic skills, Gilbreth has played the piano since she was in third grade. She plays it at the school during Student Chapel.
As a Christian, she said “I am really looking forward to going on my first missionary trip this summer to Peru, where we will stay for nine days.”
- Roger Allen