Joseph Strickland has ambition and a passion for learning. He’s not afraid to work and has the willingness to go through what’s necessary to achieve academically.
“Knowledge is a beautiful thing,” Strickland said. “I’m thankful for the opportunities I had here (Southeast Bulloch High School), and I’m glad I took advantage of them and didn’t let obstacles get in my way."
Always a good student, it wasn’t until he was surprised to achieve the highest grade point average honor his junior year, that he made the decision to push for valedictorian.
Strickland and his twin brother Forest are the second-oldest of Joe and Julie Strickland’s four sons. Both of his parents are educators. His mother is a fifth-grade teacher at Brooklet Elementary School, and his father is a technology teacher at Ebeneezer Middle School in Effingham County.
Each of the brothers is a high achiever. Strickland’s older brother Fisher graduated this spring with a degree in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Forest is an honor graduate, and their younger brother, John, who will be a freshman at SEB in the fall, received Southeast Bulloch Middle School’s prestigious Lamp of Knowledge Award for having the highest overall grade point average during his entire middle school career.
Both Joseph and his twin brother Forest will attend the University of Georgia in the fall.
“We’re a big U.G.A. family,” Strickland said. “My mom, dad, their parents, their siblings, their siblings’ spouses and many of my cousins all went to U.G.A.”
“Forest and I are not going to live together,” Strickland said. “I know we both will enjoy U.G.A, and if we choose to hang out together, that will be OK, but if we want our own space, we can definitely find that too.”
Strickland has been accepted to U.G.A’s honors program, and though he hasn’t selected a major, math and music are his interests.
“Math is my forte,” said Strickland. He’s been a member of his schools’ math teams since fifth grade at Brooklet Elementary. “It’s my one talent that I’ve been recognized for with first-place individual and team trophies at the Georgia Southern University Math Tournament,” Strickland said.
He credits SEB Math Teacher Susan Boddiford and his uncle James Fisher for guiding him in math. “Ms. Boddiford’s a great teacher and coach, and my uncle James is a math guy. He was a professor at Georgia Southern, and he taught other teachers how to teach math.”
Music is a new outlet for Strickland. “My friend Nick Flott encouraged me to try out for band and chorus my senior year, and I made it,” Strickland said. “Music’s done a lot for me personally, and I definitely want to pursue music opportunities in college. Last year when Strickland was selected for the Governor’s Honors Program in math, he was allowed to select a minor area of study. He chose music. “I really want to learn to play piano while in college,” he said.
Strickland is the Statesboro Exchange Club Student of the Year. He also was the recipient of the Rotary Club’s Service Above Self Scholarship.