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Bulloch County Schools News

5/28/17

Neha Aggarwal“Neha is one of those people you meet whom you know will contribute greatly to this world.” That’s how Dr. R. Jannet Kocerha, describes Neha Aggarwal, Statesboro High School’s valedictorian and  STAR student for SHS, Bulloch County and Region Eight.

 
The 18-year-old daughter of Dr. Sudhir Aggarwal, a local oncologist and his wife Neelam, a math professor at Georgia Southern University, Neha h wants to impact the world through science. She will be a pre-medical student at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill this fall.


“It’s not just about the science for me but how science fits into the world,” Neha said. UNC, one of the top five public research universities in the United States, selected her as one of its Colonel Robinson Scholars, an honor that comes with a full scholarship and both research and global studies opportunities. She plans to major in biology and chemistry with a minor in neuroscience.  She also has an interest in global studies.  


“I am really privileged to have this opportunity. Yale, Duke and Emory were options as well, but they did not offer the immediate access to research opportunities I need for medical school.” 


Neha has already been honing her research skills as a dual-enrolled Move on When Ready student at Georgia Southern.  She was an undergraduate research assistant with an ongoing bio-chemistry research study on anti-cancer drugs. 


“She has generated key results researching anti-cancer therapeutics,” said Dr. Kocerha.  Neha’s exceptional scholastic abilities in her college chemistry and research courses led Dr. Kocerha and her faculty peers to select her for one of their top department honors, the General Chemistry Achievement Award.

“She is a multi-talented student who excels at everything she does and will undoubtedly be a future leader in the medical field." 

 

GA Southern also selected her to be a member of their Model United Nations Team for the National Collegiate Conference in New York. Each year they choose one outstanding high school student in the region from the Model U.N.’s secondary level competitions. Neha was the first student from Statesboro selected in more than 20 years. “I could talk about Model U.N. all day. It really is a way for STEM-oriented students like me to give more attention to the humanities like history.”

 

Science is Neha’s passion, but she makes a concerted effort to immerse herself in courses and activities that stretch her skills in areas like fine arts and writing. “Neha is easily one of the best students that I have had the pleasure to work with in my 29-year career,” said Bruce Law, her STAR Teacher and an English language arts educator at SHS.

 

 “To Neha’s credit, she is a gifted thinker and writer who is adaptable and open to new ideas. She has softened the sharp edges of her scientific approach to become one of the most unique and complete writers I’ve had the pleasure to read. “


Neha achieved a perfect score on both the College Board’s national Advanced Placement Language and Composition Test and the Georgia Milestones Assessment System’s End-of-Course exam for American Literature. “Her strength is a scientific mind—an analytical mind of theory and fact that has little room for art and ambiguity,” Law said. “But as an example of her drive and dedication, she began polishing her writing style four years ago through our school’s advanced English and Journalism classes.”  


She has risen through the school newspaper’s reporter and editorial staffs to section editor.  A position she was dedicated to each day after her classes at GA Southern.  “She is the one student I feel best embodies that ideal of discovery, contemplation, reflection, and excellence,” Law said.


Neha’s mother encourages her daughters to explore, discover and cultivate new experiences.  In Neha’s exuberance for life and conversation, you see the fruits of that guidance.  “My mom took us to Michael’s for painting lessons as children and emphasized fine arts.” Neha also learned to play the piano and clarinet. These interests led her to be a member of SHS’s National Art Honor Society, and she’s served as the chapter’s president for the past two years.  


“It’s one of my most treasured clubs at SHS because you can gather talented art students to impact the community.”  Neha and her classmates have painted murals for Fostering Bulloch and the Statesboro Regional Library and provided public art activities for children at the Main Street Farmers Market.


Her mother also shared her gift of mathematics. “My mom is not just a math professor. She’s a math enthusiast,” Neha laughed. “We did math for fun, so I’m confident in it. I’ve never had an aversion to it.” During Neha’s junior year she was selected for Governor’s Honors in math.


Born in Arlington, VA, Neha and her family, which includes older sister Nidhi, moved to Statesboro in June 2012. Nidhi was also SHS’s valedictorian and SHS’s and Bulloch County’s STAR student.

 

“She is my best friend,” Neha said. “She is so busy at UGA, but she still makes time for me. We are such goofs around each other.”


Like her mother, Neha has a special gift to encourage and inspire others. “I have always tried to inspire my students,” said Bruce Law. “Rarely does a student come along where that role is reversed. With her, the traditional cookie cutter approach to education is amplified as a fallacy. To inspire her, the teacher must in turn, be inspired, to think and teach outside the given bounds. This is the gift that she and others like her, have given to us—to inspire others through the inspiration they share.”

 

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5/28/17

Joseph MuldrewJoseph Muldrew, 18, is the son of the Honorable Michael Muldrew, Judge, Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, and his wife Laurie Muldrew, a math instructor at Ogeechee Technical College. Being named valedictorian and STAR Student was no surprise.  He’s maintained the highest average of his 200-plus graduating class since they were freshmen.


“I’m going to miss my teachers,” he said. “A lot of them have dedicated themselves to my academic success, and I’m indebted to their sacrifice.”

 
That success now includes a full-ride scholarship to Mercer University as a Stamps Foundation Scholar. Mercer selects only five recipients for this honor from its incoming first-year students. The scholarship includes a $16,000 enrichment stipend to study abroad, perform undergraduate research, support unpaid internships, attend conferences and aid in his development as a leader in his field of study, neuroscience.  Joseph then plans to attend medical school and eventually join the ranks of academia and conduct clinical research in the field of psychiatry. 


“I’m very interested in psychiatry, abnormal psychology, and mental disorders that plague people, especially depression. I believe there is no deeper nor rewarding experience than helping my fellow man.” Joseph says his life’s mission is to develop new treatments for mental disorders. He hopes to break down barriers preventing many patients from receiving care they desperately need.  


His interest in helping others is evidenced by his volunteer work.  As president of SEBHS’s Beta Club he recognized the need for peer tutoring and mentorship at neighboring Southeast Bulloch Middle School. Working with SEBMS’s administrators, he established a free, accessible tutoring program for students. He organized and advertised weekly tutoring sessions to potential students and their parents.  He managed a volunteer staff of more than 90 fellow Beta Club members, who conducted hour-long sessions on campus for 6th-8th graders.


 “I saw significant progress with some students in their personal devotion to their studies, career focus and friendships. We sought to provide a place where they felt they belonged and valued. The SEBHS Beta Club has promised to continue this service program, and I’m happy about that.”  


“Joseph possesses a sterling character, which leads him to devote himself to service-oriented groups like Beta Club,” said Linda Fix, his Beta Club advisor and English teacher. “I will remember him as a kind, humorous student, an agile thinker, and a brave and skillful writer.”


Seeing a need and taking the initiative to address it is another reason he was chosen as a Stamps Scholar. The program emphasizes engaging in philanthropic efforts worldwide and demonstrating a passion for improving local communities. 


Joseph has also volunteered his time and talents with Young Life, Youth Leadership Bulloch, SEBHS’s Student Council and East Georgia Regional Hospital.  As a student volunteer in the emergency room, he has performed the duties of a certified technician by administering electrocardiograms and urine tests, cleaning medical equipment, and transporting patients. 


“Beyond delivering blankets, meals, and even vomit bags, I wanted to ensure all patients received the care and attention they deserve.” Joseph expressed that it was in those times when he would be called to a lonely patient’s room, and he was able to make them smile through their pain that he was reminded why he wants to devote himself to service. “Through interacting with patients and working alongside medical professionals, I discovered my element.”


Joseph shared that Bulloch County is classified as a Geographic High Needs Health Professional Service Area for mental health. Due to social stigmatization, low mental health literacy, and lack of insurance coverage, many patients in need of psychiatric care continue to struggle with untreated and undiagnosed mental disorders. 


“While volunteering in the ER, my heart ached whenever I entered a patient’s room who had experienced suicidal ideation or attempted suicide. If that patient had received effective psychiatric treatment, then tragedies like these may have been prevented.” 


He believes fusing together his passions for psychology and medicine into a career as a psychiatrist seems natural. “One day, I hope to return to Bulloch County trained to replenish the debilitating shortage of psychiatrists.”  


Until then he is eager to join his older brother, Daniel, at Mercer. Daniel is an environmental engineering major. Though Joseph is seeking service opportunities on campus he also has his eye on Mercer’s fraternity and student government options. 


“Joseph is an extremely intelligent student who is highly self-motivated and put his best effort into anything he attempts, said Susan Boddiford, his STAR teacher, math instructor, math team coach and Quiz Bowl Coach.  She and other Bulloch County faculty have helped prepare him for success and are eager to see his continued success.

 

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5/28/17

Holly SawyerStudy abroad in Ireland or Italy; Buy a car- a Honda to replace her Jeep; and Travel – These are just some of the things on Holly Sawyer’s list of things to do as she prepares to graduate May 26, as Portal Middle High School’s valedictorian.

 

“I’ve always considered myself the luckiest person alive. My family has helped and supported me, and I want to share my blessings with them, and anyone I can.”


The 18-year-old daughter of Joy Sawyer, a local attorney, Holly has attended Portal ‘s schools since first grade. Her senior year has been spent mostly at Georgia Southern University as a Move on When Ready student. “MOWR was great for me. I was ready for college.” Sawyer’s course load of chemistry, psychology, English and public speaking classes helped her simultaneously fulfill both her complete her remaining high school credits and earn college credits, a benefit of the state’s changes to dual enrollment.  


Sawyer is currently a communications studies major at GA Southern, where she plans to remain to finish her core classes. “I love writing. I think it’s a beautiful art.” She later plans to transfer to the University of Georgia and major in public health and minor in chemistry. “She has been accepted into the university’s Bells Honors Program.  This opportunity will provide her with not only academic challenges but leadership development and service learning projects. She will also have an undergraduate research project as part of the honors program’s Capstone Project. Though classified as an incoming freshman, she’s actually just a few short hours from being a sophomore thanks to MOWR.


Sawyer is very practical in her thinking when it comes to financing the college experience. “Having the Zell Miller Scholarship and Bells Honors Program Scholarship will cover my tuition and books, and I can live at home, so staying at Southern to finish my core classes will help me save money for when I transfer to U.G.A.  I want to transfer later to Georgia because I need a different experience. I’ve been here all of my life, but I do want to stay here until I can afford it myself.”


“I’m going to miss Portal, especially Band, Dr. Marshall’s Horticulture classes, and school lunch. I’d get it to go every day before I went to my college classes. I really liked our school lunches at Portal.”


"It is really an honor to have had Holly in my classes and as an officer in FFA during her high school career,” said Dr. Thomas Marshall, PMHS’s Agriculture teacher. “She is hard-working and focused and successful in everything she attempts. She has a bright future ahead of her." 


Holly also played flute in the school band for three years. “She could not be in band this year, because she was taking a full load at college,” said John Gleissner, PMHS’s band director. “She’s extremely bright. A little hard headed, but only when she is pursuing what she knew to be right. She is fun and represented the Portal Panther Spirit well in everything she did."  Sawyer was the school’s mascot for two years.


“This year has been very different for me,” said Sawyer. With work and classes I haven’t been around much at Portal or home.”  She’s especially missed spending time with her younger sisters, Heidi (15) and Haven (12), both of whom also attend PMHS. “The hardest I’ve ever laughed has been the times when we were together. They both work hard like me, but that comes from my mom. She’s the strongest woman I know.”


Holly is looking forward to traveling with her mom after graduation. “I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco, Yosemite, and to see the Redwood Forest. We’re flying out for four days just me and her.”
“Holly has brought a lot of happiness to my life,” said Joy Sawyer, Holly’s mom. “She’s so much fun. She loves to explore and loves people. I’m not looking forward to her leaving home, but I can’t wait to see her fly.”

 

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Graduation Information

School Climate Ratings

What is a Climate Star Rating?

2016-17 Ratings

(Out of 5 Possible Stars)

 

BES   3    PMHS  3
JPBES    4 SZES  3
LCES   3 SEBMS  3
LCMS   3 SEBHS  3
MLES   3 SHS  3
MCES   3 SES  3
NES   4 WJMS  3
PES   3    

 

The district received a Financial Efficiency Rating of 4 out of 5 stars.