North Forsyth Students’ Journey Towards Becoming GHP Semifinalists

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  • Junior Patrick Mendoza, North Forsyth’s nominee in Science (Biology), anticipates his interview on Saturday.

  • Junior Sydnee Mills, junior Emma Ferber, sophomore Cassidee Jackson and junior Madison Unger all attended the Wellness prep session on Feb. 27.

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On the afternoon of Jan. 24, North Forsyth’s 11 state level nominees for GHP opened their emails to discover that they all have moved onto the semifinalist level. According to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) is an enriching summer program held at Berry College for “gifted and talented high school students who will be rising juniors and seniors during the program.” These 11 students displayed great academic and extracurricular aptitude by being apart of this selective group of GHP semifinalists.


The eleven students who advanced to the semifinalist level are as follows: 

  • Junior Rebecca Buwalda (Science/ Biology)
  • Junior Emma Ferber (Engineering)
  • Sophomore Tyler Harris (Mathematics)
  • Sophomore Cassidee Jackson (Communicative Arts)
  • Junior Owen Malone (Music/ Voice)
  • Junior Patrick Mendoza (Science/ Biology)
  • Junior Sydnee Mills (Visual Arts)
  • Junior Ryan O’Leary (Music/ Brass)
  • Junior Samantha Sayer (Music/ Voice)
  • Junior Micheal Stamey (Mathematics)
  • Junior Madison Unger (Theater)


These students advanced from the school, district and then the state level interviews and applications. Additionally, 100 percent of North Forsyth students who advanced to the county level interviews advanced to the state level interviews.


North Forsyth’s Science (Biology) semifinalist, junior Patrick Mendoza, “always had a passion for science” because “[it] explained how things are and why they are.” In his GHP application, he discussed his own personal science project in which he “[tested] how light pollution makes plants grow.” Furthermore, Mendoza wants to go to GHP so that he could have “new [topics and ideas in science] introduced to him,” more than what is offered in school. He states that “all the [practice] interviews have prepared [him]” so far for the state interview.


During the Raider Time sessions on Wednesday, Feb. 27, North Forsyth GHP semifinalists practiced their interview skills with our school administrators and teachers in Coach Beard’s room. At the wellness session, Dr. Graham, Mrs. Loftus, Coach Beard and Mrs. Oliver interviewed students. Junior Emma Ferber, sophomore Cassidee Jackson, junior Sydnee Mills and junior Madison Unger all attended the wellness session to sharpen up their interview skills. 


Overall, congratulations to North Forsyth High’s GHP finalists. Wish them luck as they advance to the final interviews held at Berry College. State interviews were held on Saturday, Feb. 22 for music semifinalists; state interviews for non-music semifinalists on Saturday, Feb. 29 for non-music semifinalists.