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Youth of the Year: Dos Harper: The bee’s knees

Eastside and Newton College and Career Academy senior Dos Harper found his knack for all things FFA and beekeeping his sophomore year of high school when a teacher proposed the project to his class. Since then, he has found himself knee-deep in all things agriculture and has taken advantage of every opportunity available to him at NCCA. 

“At the beginning of my 10th grade year, Mr. Pollard, my teacher, he proposed the idea of the beekeeping project to the class and I knew nothing about beekeeping at the time, but I said ‘Sure, why not.’ So, because I did that, I got to go to state convention for an interview at the end of my 10th grade year and whenever I went to that state convention, it was like an epiphany for me and I enjoyed it a lot,” he said. “I had a great time.”

Since that day, Dos has gotten involved in all things FFA and now serves as the FFA president for NCCA. 

“I’ve never been involved with farming as a kid, so that’s the great thing about FFA,” he said. “A lot of people have perceived it’s all about farming and it has really become much more diverse, much more than farming. 

“I’m not a farmer. Obviously, I have a lot of support for the farmers and I have a lot of respect for what they do, but I’m more into the beekeeping aspect, so more agricultural science.

“My grandad has a garden and I’ve helped with him, but other than that I’ve never been into the farming aspect.”

NCCA CEO/Principal Chad Walker said he has seen Dos grow over the span of his high school career. 

“He has evolved from a quiet, yet exceptionally thoughtful student, into a leader who bravely shares his remarkable academic and aesthetic insight,” he said. “It says a lot about a student and a person when he volunteers to take on a task which is much more difficult than what is needed to get by.  It is a reflection of his character and determination to succeed. I have never seen Doster back down from an academic challenge.  He is currently in the top 10 percent of his projected graduating class because of his initiative to face and conquer academic challenges.

“He combines intelligence with a drive to succeed that I have rarely seen, even in my best students.  In an academic setting, Doster is the proverbial ‘man amongst boys.’  While this intellect is important to his success, the cornerstone of his achievement is the refusal to accept anything short of excellence from himself.  In this regard, he is one of the most driven students I have been around in the last six years.  Doster’s peers rise to challenges in order to compete with the standards of achievement he sets.”

Newton County School System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said she is proud of Dos and his accomplishments. 

“He is an outstanding, hard-working student who is dedicated to his studies and taking the steps necessary to ensure he achieves his goals,” she said. “Dos serves as an ambassador for the school system through his valuable contributions to the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. His leadership and participation in both local and state student organizations further demonstrates Dos’s desire to impact the world within and beyond the boundaries of Newton County. He is a well-rounded student whose work ethic, laser-like focus on his studies, and service to others makes him an exemplary choice for Youth of the Year.”

Outside of FFA, Dos is a member of the Stewart Community Church youth group and runs track and cross country for his school. 

After high school, Dos said he has two options. 

“My first choice is to attend a service academy and then serve as an officer in the military afterwards,” he said. “However, if I don’t get into a service academy this year, I’m hoping to get into the University of Georgia. If I get into UGA, I want to major in agricultural science and environmental systems.”

If he attends a service academy, Dos plans to serve in the military as long as he cans before pursuing a career in agricultural science. 

Earlier this year, Dos was honored as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s February Student Spotlight as a student who explified academic and pathway success, extracurricular involvement and strong leadership skills. 

“Doster Harper is an exceptional young man with an admirable passion to make a difference in his community and the State of Georgia,” Cagle said. “As the nation’s forestry capital, Georgia is leading the way in innovation and opportunities for our students in the dynamic industry. I am excited Doster has chosen such a rewarding career path which will give him real-world experience through the support of Newton College and Career Academy.”

Dos said he was excited about the honor. 

“That was really cool,” he said. “It was a cool experience and I’m glad that he chose me.”