Katlyn Brantley, Southeast Bulloch High School’s valedictorian and STAR student, has maintained her class’ highest grade point average since elementary school. She’s been accepted to several universities of her choice, including the University of Georgia, the Honors College at Georgia Southern University, and the University of Alabama, which offered her its Presidential Scholarship, but with a desire to pursue a career in health care, particularly dentistry, she selected Augusta University.
“I have been accepted to the Dental Scholars Program at Augusta University, and I will be majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology,” Brantley said. “It’s an accelerated seven-year program where I’ll work to complete my bachelor of science degree in three years, bypass the traditional dental school application process, and my fourth year of undergraduate school will be combined with my first year of dental school.”
Brantley was one of only 10 applicants to be accepted to the very prestigious program, which guarantees her admission to the Dental College of Georgia. It will require her to perform community volunteering, dental experience shadowing, research, and university extracurricular activities and service as well as maintaining academic excellence.
The university also awarded her its Katherine Pamplin Scholarship, and she’s received a $1,000 Rotary Club of Statesboro Scholarship, the Southeast Bulloch Academic Scholarship, and the Georgia Health Occupations Student Association’s State Leadership Scholarship, and the Zell Miller Scholarship as valedictorian.
“I’m thankful that my years of hard work have paid off. I’m also very thankful to all of the faculty and staff at SEB and to my parents, Floyd and Kimberly Brantley,” she shared in an interview last week at the school during a quick break from preparing for her drama class’ last stage performance, “Game of Tiaras.”
She credits her drama teacher, Joni Mock, with building her confidence in public speaking.
“She really forced me to come out of my shell, and there’s nothing like being thrust out on a stage to help with that,” she said.
Mock praises Brantley’s dedication, positive attitude and willingness to take on challenging roles.
“She was a real pleasure to have in drama class,” Mock said. “Her excellent work ethic and determination to succeed had a positive impact on our class. She is so much more than the valedictorian and STAR student. She is an entertainer, encourager, helper and friend. Considering the challenges and demands of her advanced placement classes, I applaud her for an amazing year, and I have all confidence that she will continue to be amazing and successful.”
Brantley also credits her health occupations teacher, Sharon Pye, with guiding her toward a career in health care.
“No one in my family is in the health care field, but I learned so much by being a member of HOSA and from Mrs. Pye that I know health care is my path,” she said.
“Katie has been an absolute joy to work with,” Pye said. “She excelled in the Therapeutic Services Allied Health and Medicine pathway, and as a member of HOSA, in which she competed at the regional, state and national levels. She actually gave an outstanding presentation about dentistry and orthodontics during our Health Careers Fair when she was just in the ninth grade. I am elated but not surprised that she has been accepted into the Professional Scholars program.”
In addition to her teachers, she credits her mother, Dr. Kim Brantley, whom she selected as her STAR teacher, for her success.
“My mom is my rock. She has consistently been a source of inspiration in my life, and she has dedicated herself to encouraging my academic success,” Brantley said of her mom, who is a second grade teacher at Nevils Elementary School and an alumna of SEBHS.
“Her father and I have watched her blossom and transform from an inquisitive, precocious little girl into a kind, caring and resolute young woman,” Kim Brantley said of her daughter during this year’s STAR student competition. “As her parent, I am confident that she will go out into the world and demonstrate all of the good habits and characteristics she has developed through her faith, her upbringing and her academic career.”
Brantley is looking forward to college where she can be around like-minded people who love to learn and find areas to be involved in service. Before she heads to Augusta this fall, this summer you may find her enjoying her favorite pastimes like kayaking on the family’s pond with her Australian shepherds Bandit and Darla, caring for her chickens and listening to classic rock like the Eagles.