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CSI: South Forsyth teaches forensics skills
Crack mock kidnapping case with help from GSU students
South Forsyth High student Mackenzie Heber tests DNA during a forensic class at the school. - photo by Jennifer Sami

After losing his scholarship to Vanderbilt University, Dawn’s boyfriend needed money.

That’s when her best friend hatched a plan. She suggested the boyfriend kidnap Dawn and hold her for ransom money.

And the three of them might have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids from South Forsyth High.

The mystery of Dawn’s disappearance was the setting for students in the school’s forensics class to test blood samples and DNA, as well as lift fingerprints.

While the case may not have been real, the lab work Wednesday certainly was. Students used actual crime lab tools to crack the caper, thanks to assistance from visiting graduate and doctoral students from Georgia State University.

The biology and chemistry students talked about blood compatibility, the uniqueness of fingerprints and the genetic makeup of an individual’s DNA before helping their high school counterparts with analysis.

South student Taylor Green became interested in instructor Amy Miller’s forensic science class because his family likes to watch TV shows involving crime scene investigations. He said he’s interested in the material and the labs.

“I get to learn more if it’s a hands-on thing,” he said. “The [GSU] student teachers help make things easier to understand because it’s students teaching students.”

Miller, who’s leading the academic elective class at South for the first time, said students come from all different backgrounds with a variety of career goals. But the course is “cutting edge and story laden, so students are really interested.”

Miller signed up early for a visit from the university’s traveling science

program, adding that they “travel all around the state with different science curricula.”

But the college students aren’t the only visitors her class has had. Local science professionals have also stopped in.

“They are all willing to share their expertise and my students and I have really learned a lot,” Miller said.