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Forsyth County students named Governors Honor Program finalists
20 chosen across all 5 high schools

Governor’s Honor Program finalists

Anish Bikmal, mathematics
Gaurav Byagathvalli, social studies
Megan Campbell, music
Erica Hong, music
Anna Zhao, dance

Abrar Ahmed, mathematics
Emma Gran, social studies
Taylor Harville, mathematics
Gabrielle Herrick, engineering
Lauren Hong, science
Robert Kern, theater
Yasamin Khorashahi, mathematics
Hyesu Kim, music
Hannah Love, music
Erin Maley, world languages
Jessica Mitchell, science
Audrey Nguyen, visual arts
Jessica (Claire) Pearson, science
MaryKate Schwaemmle, social studies
Joseph Signa, social studies

Suzanne Warshaw (10), agricultural science
Cole Cunningham (11), engineering
Leslie Garcia (11), world languages
Matthew Morgan (11), music
Christine Park (11), music
Dellan Short (11), theater
Christopher Shoffeitt (11), music

FORSYTH COUNTY -- Twenty students from all five of Forsyth County’s brick-and-mortar high schools were named as finalists for the 2017 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, with seven other local students chosen as alternates.

A mid-summer residential program, “gifted and talented high school students who will be rising juniors and seniors” attend annually, where they receive “instruction that is significantly different from the typical high school classroom and that is designed to provide students with academic, cultural, and social enrichment,” according to GHP’s website.

To be eligible for the program, teachers must nominate students in a single subject area, though qualified students can discuss potential nomination for subjects not offered at their school.

This year, unlike in years past, GHP did not require districts to nominate a certain number of students from each subject area, allowing Forsyth to send “the best of the best,” said Erin Zitka, Forsyth County Schools’ GHP coordinator.

“It was definitely a long process,” she said. “But the exciting part is that [GHP] really provides an academic, cultural and social enrichment that’s necessary for the next generation of global learners and leaders, and I love watching where these talented young leaders [go].”

The 2017 program will be held at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Last year, Valdosta State University hosted the month-long academy, which runs from mid-June to mid-July.

Of Forsyth’s 20 finalists, 75 percent — or 15 students — are currently juniors, with the remaining students currently 10th graders.
Last year, 26 FCS students were named finalists, with three other alternates.

In a district that Zitka said emphasizes science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, subjects, 40 percent of the 2017 finalists received nominations in those areas.

“So not having the [subject number] requirement gave lots of opportunity for kids to attend in those areas,” Zitka said.

The remaining 60 percent were nominated in liberal arts areas, such as world languages, music, theater, dance and other subjects.

Zitka said FCS sent 70 students to the state level, which is the semi-finalist level.

More than 3,000 students statewide were nominated as semi-finalists, though only about 1,700 participated in the state interview and further selection process.

GHP has not yet released the number of finalists and alternates chosen, though Zitka said no one from Forsyth County who was named a finalist had declined as of Tuesday.