Several Over the Mountain students were among the 91 outstanding rising high school seniors selected to attend a two-week honors program at Samford University this summer.
Students from 10 area high schools were chosen to attend Alabama Governor’s School at Samford University June 15-27.
During the program, students chose areas of coursework for morning and afternoon sessions, including classes in the arts, law, healthcare, research, business, environmental studies, journalism and film.
The classes were taught by Birmingham area professionals and teachers, with attorney Ellis Bingham teaching the law class and Brock School of Business Dean Howard Finch teaching the business course.
The students enjoyed college level experience in academics, creativity and leadership. They undertook a community service project, visited American Village in Montevallo, attended a Birmingham Barons baseball game and heard special lectures on servant leadership and worldwide human rights issues.
The students stayed in the residence halls on Samford’s campus and had their meals in the University Dining Hall.
Briarwood Christian School’s Nikki Sullivan was named outstanding female participant. She and outstanding male student honoree Kyle Allen of Cordova High School were chosen for the awards for their participation and overall interest in the program.
AGS participants are nominated by their schools on the basis of academic ability, leadership qualities, creativity, community service and written essays.
This year’s 91-member roster represented the largest number of participants in the history of AGS. The students were chosen from a record number of 164 nominations, according to AGS director George Keller III, who said this year’s participants were particularly keen on absorbing all aspects of the program.
“These students took full advantage of the opportunities provided to them and reported that their lives were changed because of the experience,” Keller said.
More than 2,000 of Alabama’s best and brightest high school students have attended the AGS program since it began at Samford in 1987.
“It was patterned after similar programs in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky,” Keller said. “But while a lot of those programs were specific to the arts or to certain areas of study, our program was designed to be more comprehensive.”
Students participating in this year’s Alabama Governor’s School included David Salchert and David Sides from Briarwood Christian School; Kailyn Gibbs, Anna Lee Nabors, Amica Rapadas and Aaron Houston Wingo from Homewood High School; Caroline Boone and George Keller IV from Mountain Brook High School; Matthew Handley from Oak Mountain High School; Kristin Gunderson, Kyra Perkins, Elizabeth Sturgeon and Morgan Whetstone from Spain Park High School; and Kathryn Jason, Graham Llivinia and Andrea Zhang from Vestavia Hills High School.