All five of the star students to whom we spoke are at the top of their class; all of them are valedictorians with high aspirations.
Sager Patel of Perry High hopes to be an engineer and then go off to medical school.
Katie Wilcox of Jones County High wants to be a medicinal chemist.
Sara Abdulla of Northside High wants to be a neuroscientist and an international aid worker
Holland McTier of Peach County High wants to major in aerospace engineering and maybe one day work at NASA.
Sarah Wilcox of Warner Robins High wants to major in Chinese and one day go to China and spread the gospel.
"I’m a children’s minister at my temple, so it’s hard to me… to balance out my education, social, and my temple life,’ Patel says, "I’m not a different person at temple and I’m not a different person at school. If I’m just that one person throughout, it automatically balances."
Sara Abdulla volunteered at a mosque and taught little kids for five years.
"I’m not very good with kids, but I taught them anyway!" Abdulla says.
Katie Morris also boasts an impressive math record. She’s currently in Calculus 2. Do her friends go, "Wow!" when they hear that?
"Pretty much," she says, "They do kind of have a reaction."
Sarah Wilcox is from a military family and has been to eight different schools but fortunately stabilized with Warner Robins High, where she has spent all of her four years of high school. She’s met people from different countries and states, from England to Hawaii.
"I’ve taken 10 AP [advanced placement] classes. Chemistry, Calculus, Psychology, U.S. History, Government… how many have I hit?"
What got her through all those studies?
"I basically watch movies with my mom every Saturday night," she says, "we’ve been all over the world together. And my friends change, but my mom is someone who’s constant and having that movie time with her is something that’s constant."
Holland McTier credit his valedictorian spot to his friend, who is also the salutatorian, a friendly rivalry that’s lasted since middle school.
"If I was to become second, I’d rather lose to him than anyone else," McTier says.
His school counselor, Mrs. Hatchett, has a board behind her with graduation invitations from her students. Just to one-up them, he posted a large picture of himself that covered the entire board.
These soon-to-be former students are grateful for what has brought them to this. Patel summarized all five of their viewpoints with this:
"One of my teachers said that I can’t give you a present that you deserve. And I simply said I don’t need one. You gave me everything I need in life and there’s nothing more."
Patel and Morris plan to become Mercer Bears. McTier and Wilcox have their eyes set on Georgia Tech. And Abdulla ideally wants to spend eight months of the year studying and four months as an international aid worker.
From all of us at 41NBC, congratulations and good luck!