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RCPS students named Governor's Honors Program finalists
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Five Rockdale County Public Schools students have been selected as finalists, and 21 students as alternates, for the prestigious Georgia Governor's Honors Program.

The Governor's Honors Program, known as GHP, is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors on the campus of Valdosta State University run by the Georgia Department of Education. The 2013 program will be the 50th summer, making it the longest continually running program of its kind in the nation.

RCPS Finalists for the 2013 Georgia Governor's Honors Program are:
Sarah Michelson - Heritage High - Communicative Arts
Kaegan Gregory - Rockdale Co. High - Music/Woodwinds (Flute)
Jeremy Rachels -Rockdale Co. High - Mathematics
Lauren Smith - Rockdale Co. High - Social Studies
Elizabeth Leary - Salem High - Technology

Nearly 3000 students from across the state were interviewed and auditioned over three weekends in January and February, and from those nominees 690 finalists were chosen to participate in the 2013 program. Since the program is fully funded by the Georgia General Assembly, there is no charge for students to attend.

Students will arrive on the campus of VSU on Sunday, June 23. For four weeks, students will spend the morning in their major area of nomination, exploring topics not usually found in the regular high school classroom. During the afternoons, students choose one of the other areas in which to study. The curriculum in all the areas is challenging and engaging. Evenings are filled with seminars, activities, concerts, and performances.

Director Dale Lyles said, "GHP is such a competitive program that even being nominated is an accomplishment. I congratulate the students of Rockdale County and look forward to meeting them and their parents in June." He added that many if not most of GHP's past participants regard it as one of the most life-changing events in their lives.

"We congratulate our Governor's Honors Program finalists along with all of our students who were nominated for this very competitive summer program," said Superintendent Richard Autry. "We realize the benefits of rigorous programs such as this and have created several enrichment opportunities within our district for students in all grade levels. The district-wide enrichment camps on a variety of subjects, Advanced Placement Camp, Girls in Engineering Camp, and many individual school enrichment activities are just some of the opportunities that students have to complement their classroom learning. We encourage students to participate in all of these activities throughout the school year, during intercessions and over the summer break."

More information about GHP can be found on the Department of Education website,, under the division of School Improvement.