Forsyth County students selected to attend the Governor’s Honor Program program include the following:
• Alvin Ashlaw, Lambert, music (tuba)
• Christopher Bartz, Lambert, drama
• Natalie Biel, South Forsyth, Latin
• Lauren Calvert, South, executive business management
• Chloe Cooper, West Forsyth, communicative arts
• Joanna Forde, South, German
• Kathryn Frazier, West, mathematics
• Sarah Gould, Forsyth Central, biology
• Andrew Kane, Central, chemistry
• Junghyun “Ralph” Kim, South, visual arts
• Young “Ann” Kim, Lambert, Latin
• Bridget Larsen, North Forsyth, executive business management
• Hunter Leath, Lambert, mathematics
• Jun “John” Lee, South, mathematics
• Anne Martin, Lambert, music (oboe)
• Chris Overbaugh, West, music (saxophone)
• Vicki Shao, South, visual arts
• Vinay Srinivasan, South, biology
• Taylor Tai, South, biology
• Taylor Wingard, North, executive business management
Source: Forsyth County Schools
Twenty students from Forsyth County Schools have been named to the Governor’s Honors Program.
The students will spend a month on the campus of Valdosta State University with other gifted and talented students excelling in their craft.
“It allows them to pursue things they would not get to in high school,” said Kim Oliver, South Forsyth High School counselor. “Like in biology, they might get to do experiments we’re not able to do in a public school setting.
“It makes them more well rounded, and more independent thinkers. I think it also helps with their maturity.”
The program is open to high school sophomores and juniors, who must first be nominated within their schools before being able to enter the state application process.
South led the county’s high schools with eight students, including Natalie Biel, who will be attending for her Latin studies.
She first started studying the language in seventh grade. The junior said Latin “really clicked with me,” but she wasn’t sure if she was good enough to be accepted to the program.
“There are a lot of other people that I knew were really proficient,” she said. “I knew I had enough experience to get myself to the state level.”
Biel said she’s excited to be representing South, but she’s also looking forward to the opportunities she’ll have during the month-long instructional program.
“I used to be home schooled, so when I went to public high school, it was kind of a culture shock, I guess, and there weren’t a whole lot of kids there at high school that really enjoyed learning as much as I did,” she said.
“I thought the GHP would be a really great opportunity for me to get to connect with a bunch of other kids that share the same passion for learning as I did.”
Lambert High will be sending five students, West Forsyth will send three and North Forsyth and Forsyth Central will each send two.
Before he even entered high school, Andrew Kane knew he wanted to be part of the program.
“I had two cousins that have gone. They told me some of the fantastic things that they had done,” he said. “Going into high school, that was one of the goals I had.”
Kane, a junior at Central, was nominated in chemistry.
Before high school, chemistry wasn’t even on his radar. After taking honors chemistry last year, however, it became a fascination.
While he’s eager to learn more about the field, he’s also looking forward to the social interaction with other students.
At first, he wasn’t excited about giving up a month of his summer, but he looks it as preparation.
“I’m going to have a dorm room,” he said. “I started thinking it would be a cool college experience before senior year even starts.”
Oliver said living on a college campus is one of the advantages these students will get.
“It certainly gives them a taste of college life,” she said. “They come back and talk about the great experiences they have. They learn much more than they thought they were going to learn.”
Oliver noted it’s not always the students with the best grade-point averages or who excel the most in a particular field. It’s about the level of passion.
That’s something West junior Chris Overbaugh understands.
Accepted to the program for his music, Overbaugh said he knows that “doesn’t mean I’m one of the best saxophone players in the state. It just means I like it the most.”
“Of course, experience, of course knowledge, but it’s also just a perspective of where I’m at and where I’m going and what I can do with my life,” he said.
“I love music. I love learning ... I want to do that with my life. That’s a given. I want to go get a doctorate in music and teach.”
Overbaugh said he’s hopeful the program will make him more confident. It’s also giving him a head start on his future, he said.
“This is like the biggest thing I’ve done in my life so far ... this is huge for me,” he said.
“It’s just giving me an opportunity to do what I want to do with my life, starting early, and hanging out with other people who want to do the same thing.”