Newton High School student Meg Gourley also will represent NCSS at GHP this year.
COVINGTON -- Two Alcovy High School students and a student from Newton High School have been selected as finalists for this year's Governor's Honors Program.
They will represent Newton County School System in the Governor's Honors Program, a four-week summer instructional program at Valdosta State University scheduled for June 24 through July 21.
The school district's finalists include Jeffrey Jones and Brandie Weathersby from Alcovy High School and Meg Gourley from Newton High School.
Jones plans on majoring in social studies at GHP, while Weathersby will major in biology. Gourley will major in dance and minor in social studies this summer.
Jones said he first tried out for GHP last year as a sophomore and was thrilled when he made it to the state level and was chosen as an alternate.
"It inspired me to develop my knowledge even more," he said. "Knowing that I'm going to Governor's Honors is great because I like the idea of being enrolled in a university because I will really be prepared for those kinds of classes since I want to major in history in college."
Weathersby will participate in what she hopes are some "cool experiments" in biology at GHP.
"I'm taking AP biology now, and that's what I plan on majoring in when I go to college," she said. "I've always been fascinated in human anatomy in particular, and biology is the closest you can get to that at Governor's Honors so that's what I chose."
Gourley has been a dancer since age three, and her mom is a ballet teacher, so she's looking forward to getting even more practice over the summer in an academic setting.
"Dancing is my very favorite thing to do," she said. "It's my passion and I wouldn't want to spend four weeks doing anything but dance."
Gourley is a member of the Decatur City Dance ballet company and also the Rugcutters, a swing dance company at the Decatur School of Ballet. When not on the dance floor, she can be found at the Academy of Liberal Arts at Newton High School, where she keeps a very busy schedule. Gourley also is a competitive horseback rider and regularly competes in hunter jumper shows.
Even being so busy, Gourley said GHP fit beautifully into her summer schedule, even with attending dance programs as well.
"This is going to be a summer that's unlike any other," she said. "I'm actually ecstatic that I've been accepted into Governor's Honors. Whenever I do one-week intensives I get so much better so I can only imagine how I will be after four weeks."
Weathersby chose to pursue a slot at GHP to help her not only prepare for college but also the college application process.
"GHP really gives you an edge as far as the college application process," she said. "I also want the experience of being there by myself taking classes for four weeks. I like the fact that you're going to be with others who love the subjects as much as you because that makes for a more productive environment."
Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter, principal of Alcovy High School, said her students continue to accomplish "amazing academic milestones."
"Both (GHP students) have achieved an amazing level of greatness in their high school career," she said. "When students excel in academia it is something that makes the entire community proud."
NHS Principal Craig Lockhart recognizes Gourley as "a very well-rounded student."
"As a member of the (ALANHS program), Meg has been observed to be a person who can engage in a rigorous curriculum and still find time to serve her community and school," he said. "I am extremely proud of her accomplishments, and this is only the beginning for her."
Only rising juniors and seniors from Georgia's public and private high schools may participate in GHP.
This year's finalists were nominated by their teachers for a specific instructional area matching their abilities, aptitudes and interests. In addition to submitting endorsements and grade transcripts, the nominees were required to participate in a statewide screening interview or audition depending on their desired major.
Major instructional areas for the program include English, various foreign languages, mathematics, various sciences, social studies, arts courses, technology and executive management. Instruction is also provided in four support areas -- computers, counseling, library/media and physical fitness.
"The competition to be selected as a Governor's Honors Program finalist is rigorous," said Samantha Fuhrey, deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at NCSS. "Our finalists will have a great experience at the Governor's Honors summer program, where they will be able to study their disciplines more closely with other finalists from around the state."