Public PK-12 School District in Dalton, Georgia

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Paige Manahan and Ariana Avila Selected for Prestigious Governor's Honor Program
“In all my years, I have never talked to a child who doesn’t rave about going to Governor’s Honors.”

Each year, a group of highly motivated high school students are nominated and selected to attend the Georgia Governor's Honor program to help them tap in to their greatest potential. Last spring, a total of fifteen students were nominated for the program. Their names are Price Andersen, Susan Gonzalez, Maryellen Hagberg, Wendy Pelayo, Sarah Lynch, Abigail O'Ferrall, Hope Parker, Max Hasselberg, Edward Ortega, Kobe Stokes, Nicole Rocio Guerrero and Jose Reynoso Perez.

Paige Manahan and Ariana Avila ended up as finalists and Abigail Liu finished as a semi-finalist.

The Georgia Governor's Honor Program is a gifted summer program funded by the governor's office for rising high school juniors and seniors. The goal is to provide a unique learning environment that gives students an academic, cultural and social enrichment program that molds them into global thinkers, innovators and leaders.

Each district in the state of Georgia has an opportunity to submit student nominations for the program.

Lisa Hackney, director of school support, is tasked with providing support and guidance for all of the Dalton nominees.

"I shepherd them through the process," Hackney said. "I meet with them and talk with them about their applications. For students who are selected for interviews, I mentor them through that process. We have practice interviews and bring in students who have attended Governor's Honors in the past."

For Dalton Public Schools, students have to undergo a rigorous application and interview process to be nominated to attend. The nomination process is lengthy and only students who are committed and capable in certain subject areas are considered for the program. After the nominations are narrowed down, they are taken to the Governor's Honor Committee.

Each year, the summer program gives finalists the opportunity to attend classes that encourage them to pursue a subject area they are passionate about, but may not excel in, such as foreign language, theater or dance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was cancelled for this summer. An alternate Governor's Honor day at the capitol is being considered for finalists.

Hackney stated that all of the past finalists have thoroughly enjoyed the program and the networking advantages it provides for them.

"In all my years, I have never talked to a child who doesn't rave about going to Governor's Honors," Hackney said. "The kids boast with excitement due to the uniqueness of the program and the different connections they make with kids all over the state."