Public PK-12 School District in Dalton, Georgia

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DHS 9th Grade Student Named AP Scholar
Nellie Gregg school photo

Think back to when you were in the ninth grade. You may have been anxiously anticipating tryouts out for a sport or club, studying to pass your driver's license exam, or maybe you were busy working to achieve that high score in your favorite video game.

While these things are conventional for most freshmen in high school, taking and passing multiple college-level courses is not. However, the latter is the norm for one local ninth-grade student.

Nellie Gregg, a sophomore at Dalton High School, was honored as an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar last year after successfully completing and passing 3 Advanced Placement classes. She found out the good news that she had passed her three AP exams in July, qualifying her for the distinction.

To prepare herself to take a higher number of AP courses as a freshman, Gregg studiously took many high school courses as early as the seventh grade.

"Because I had taken so many high school courses in middle school, they trusted me to be able to handle the AP workload more than what they usually allow ninth-graders to do," said Gregg.

Gregg accomplished a rare feat in becoming an AP Scholar while a freshman. There are only 1,200 freshmen students nationwide who can call themselves AP Scholars at such a young age. That puts Gregg in an elite group of freshmen, as 0.03% of ninth-grade students across the country achieve this prestigious honor.

Even though Gregg was taking AP courses in which some of her classes were occupied by only juniors and seniors, there wasn't an issue with the age difference.

"Although some of those AP classes had only seniors in them, I knew people from both the marching band and extracurriculars," Gregg said. "There wasn't an issue with not knowing people."

Wanting to continue to learn and excel at a more progressive pace, Gregg is taking 3 more AP courses this year.

"My greatest strength is not a particular subject; it's just that I am a good learner," said Gregg.

Along with the advanced curriculum she is taking, Dalton High School is allowing Gregg to begin the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program a year earlier than when others start due to the abnormally higher number of credits she came into her ninth-grade year with. The IB Program is a challenging and rewarding college preparatory program for high school students that is usually reserved for juniors and seniors.

"I would like to spend more time during my senior year doing more internship-based, work-based things as well as passion project activities for college admission," said Gregg.