By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Honors Program grads share experiences
15 Bulloch nominees hope to be selected to 2018 class
Jaala Alston Web
Jaala Alston

The Governor’s Honors Program is a four-week residential summer program for gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors in Georgia.

Hosted on a college campus, it is an enriching academic, cultural and social experience for students as alumni of the program can attest. As the district’s Honors Program selection process is underway for 2018, two Bulloch County program alumnae shared their program experiences.

Frannie Sanders, a senior at Southeast Bulloch High School, and Jaala Alston, a senior at Statesboro High School, were selected from thousands of nominees statewide to be two of 667 finalists in the 2017 Honors Program at Berry College in Rome last summer. 

After preparing three in-depth papers and participating in face-to-face interviews with program representatives, Sanders was selected as a finalist in Agricultural Science, and Alston was a finalist in Social Studies.

“Eye-opening” and “essential” were words both Sanders and Alston used to describe the program.

“The opportunity allowed me to meet new people and open my horizons,” said Sanders, and Alston shared that her experiences made her more comfortable with her role in the world and changed the way she saw others.

Honors Program finalists can major in one of 11 nomination areas: Agricultural Science, Science, Communicative Arts, Social Studies, Dance, Theatre, Engineering, Visual Arts, Mathematics, World Languages and Music.

While majoring in Agricultural Science and minoring counseling at the Honors Program, Sanders was able to complete a research project and interact with content-savvy professors. The hands-on activity taught her skills she said she will use when she heads to college, where she plans on majoring in agri-science and possibly pursue a career in plant science.

In addition to majoring in Social Studies at the Honors Program, Alston’s minor was Foreign Language.

“GHP and my courses there really solidified my plans for what I want to do in college,” Alston said. “My teachers inspired me to choose a career path where I can positively affect the lives of others, so I want to pursue something in the area of constitutional law.”

“(The Governor’s Honors Program) is an important asset to the state of Georgia,” said Dr. Cayanna Good, deputy director of Innovation and Academic Programs for the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. “Gifted and talented students hold tremendous potential for the future leadership of our state.”

This year Bulloch County has 15 students who have been nominated locally to apply for the Honors Program in eight different areas. The students are in the process of completing their online applications to the state and the program will announce its 2018 cohort of finalists on March 30. 

If any Bulloch County students are selected as finalists, their four-week program of study would be June 17 – July 14 at Berry College.

The 2018 nominees are:

Southeast Bulloch High School: Sarah Grace Hunter, Agriculture Science; Abigail McMillan, Music (Voice); Melissa Mackelprang, Science.

Statesboro High School: Michael Vescio, Science; Austin Halaby, Mathematics; Julian Schwartz, Music; Eletria Biswas, Science; Kristin Wubbena, Music; Shirling Xu, Communicative Arts; Carter Swaby, Science; Emmanuel Okungoba, Engineering; Maggie Smith, Communicative Arts; Brody VanWagenen, Visual Arts; Sarah Harvey, Visual Arts; and Randall Hamilton; Music.

Portal Middle High School did not nominate students this year due to an alternate learning opportunity for its students this summer that conflicts with the Honors Program dates.



Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter