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Briarwood recognizes top students

Briarwood Academy senior Joseph Baldwin was named Gold Medalist Student, and he selected music director Jeanie Joesbury as his Gold Medalist Teacher at the annual Honors Day program for the sixth through 12th grades held Friday, May 5, at the school.


Briarwood Academy senior Joseph Baldwin was named Gold Medalist Student, and he selected music director Jeanie Joesbury as his Gold Medalist Teacher at the annual Honors Day program for the sixth through the 12th grades on Friday, May 5, at the school.

Joseph was selected Gold Medalist Student by the faculty from a field of 10 eligible senior candidates. The Gold Medalist Student must be a graduating senior with an academic average of 90 or above throughout his/her high school career or a score of 1000 or above on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Qualities taken into consideration when voting include character, leadership, service, loyalty and punctuality.

He also earned the honor of serving as class Salutatorian and will deliver the salutatory address at Commencement exercises for the class of 2006 at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 15, at Briarwood.

He is a National Merit semi-finalist, a member of the National Honor Society, and vice-president of the Senior Class.

In March of this year, Joseph was one of only two delegates selected from Georgia to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program, where he received an all expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., and a $5000 college scholarship.

He has reaped innumerable awards in the fields of voice and performance in music.


Last summer, he one of only 28 vocalists selected from among a field of international applicants selected to participate in a four-week program in advanced opera vocal study at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, the world's premiere summer arts program for aspiring artists in grades three through twelve.

He was selected to participate in the 2004 Georgia Governor's Honors Program in vocal/choral performance.

He is a two-time winner of GISA AA state competition in piano and was a member of the AA state champion quartet in 2004. He has numerous first place awards in GISA Region 1AA literary competition in the categories of oral interpretation, piano, and boy's solo.

He received the Best Actor award in GISA AA one-act play state competition last year.

In 2004, he performed solo hand bells at the annual legislative dinner for the General Assembly by invitation of Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

Joseph has performed numerous leading and supporting roles in productions by the Briarwood Academy Chorus and the Washington Little Theater Company.


He is a member of the Washington Little Theater Company Board of Directors and is vice-president of the Watson-Brown Foundation Junior Board of Directors.

Baldwin will attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, on Northwestern University Scholarship. He plans to earn a BM in Vocal Performance and a BA in Political Science with a minor in Business Interactions.

Briarwood's valedictorian, Amy McGee; salutatorian, Baldwin; and first honor graduate, Melisa Newsome; were presented awards and plaques.

Amy also received a $500 Georgia Mining Association Scholarship. The Georgia Mining Foundation presents the scholarships annually to assist worthy high school students with college tuition. The recipients must attend school in one of the counties where the companies, which make up the Foundation, have operations.

Amy was also recognized as a recipient of a National Merit Scholarship Award. Only about half of the program's finalists nationally receive awards. The awards are based on SAT scored.

Additionally, graduate Lauren Brown Pinson, who is currently attending Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville as a participant in the joint enrollment program for high school seniors, also received a National Merit Scholarship Award.

Senior Blake Stitcher received the Excellence in Citizenship Award. The award is sponsored by the State of Georgia through the Secretary of State's office. It is designed to recognize outstanding young Georgians who reach out to help others and share their time and talent within their communities. Qualifications include a good scholastic record, faithful school attendance and involvement in citizenship or character building organizations.

Juniors Bonnie Bounds and Amanda Rutkowski received the Augusta State University Award, which is presented to the students in the top five percent of the Junior Class.


The two also received the University of Georgia Certificate of Merit, which is presented annually by the State of Georgia in an attempt to identify and reward superior scholastic endeavors through outstanding achievement the first three years of high school.

Additionally, Bonnie received the Erskine Fellow award from Erskine College in Due West, S.C. The Fellow recognizes talented juniors in the top 10 percent of their class who are taking college prep courses and have demonstrated unusual qualities of leadership as indicated by their participation in extracurricular activities. They must have earned a minimum of 1,000 combined score on the PSAT or SAT.

Bonnie also received the Junior Marshal award, which is presented to the junior with the highest academic average through the first five semesters of high school. The Junior Marshal experiences the honor of leading the senior processional and recessional at all graduation activities.

Juniors Joseph Batrous, Bounds, Heather Neal and Chase Wilson were awarded the Presbyterian Junior Fellow Award. The award is presented annually to two young men and two young women who have the highest cumulative average during their first years of high school and have scored at least 1,020 on the SAT or PSAT.

Bonnie and Chase was also honored by Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., which recognizes the top juniors in a class by inviting them to participate in the Wofford Scholars Program. The students must rank at the top of their class and score at least 1,200 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT.


Two Briarwood Juniors received second and third place in the 2006 audio/essay contest sponsored annual by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Rear Admiral Richard E. Hawes VFW Post of Thomson, which sponsors the competition locally, presented Chase with a $150 check for his second place entry and Amanda $100 for her third place entry.

The Annual Award was presented to Melisa Newsome, this year's editor, for outstanding contributions and superior dedication to the 2006 Buccaneer, the Briarwood yearbook.

Baldwin received the Chorus Award, which is presented annually to the student who has exemplified the best in and out of the classroom in practice and in performance.

Seniors Matthew Rivers and Baldwin received a Music Scholarship from the Briarwood Music Department, which presents awards annually to seniors who have participated in four or more musicals during their middle school and high school careers at Briarwood. The seniors must have participated in a musical during the junior and seniors years to qualify for the award.

Juniors Bounds and Davis Griffin received the Cathryn S. Pinson Literary Award presented in recognition and honor of Mrs. Pinson, a former Briarwood teacher who made many outstanding contributions to Briarwood students in literary, one-act play and debate. The awards are presented to one male and one female student each year for their participation in the literary and chorus program.


Abby McAvoy was selected by the faculty to receive the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership award, which is presented annually to a sophomore. Abby will attend a conference this summer, which is designed to motivate and develop future leaders, preparing them for positions in their school and community.

Eight Briarwood seventh graders were presented the Duke Talent Search Award, which recognizes seventh grade students who excel in verbal recognition and math computation as demonstrated by achieving stated scores on a nationally standardized test. Grace Blackmon-Hughes, Emily Henderson, Rhett Hinesley, Maggie Keene, Hunter Lampp, Ryan Nelson, Jessica Oliphant and Blake Sowell received the award. These students were allowed to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, which is a test administered to high school students and used as college admission scores.

Seniors Beth Gerlach and Dustin Pilgrim received the Wendy's High School Heisman Award, which is presented to the male and female student who exemplify excellence in both academics and athletics.

Academic Achievement Recognition awards are presented to the top student in each class taught at the middle and high school levels. The awards are based on academic averages for work completed during the first three nine-week grading periods.


Those receiving certificates included seniors Joseph Baldwin - Psychology; Ramona Cochran - Advanced Algebra/Trig, English IV; Beth Gerlach - Accounting, Advanced Algebra-Trig, Physiology; Amy McGee - Honors English IV, Physics, AP Calculus, Western Civilization; juniors Bonnie Bounds - US History, Advanced Composition; Ali Dyson - Pre-calculus; Liz Grant - Honors English III; Courtney Price - Geometry; Morgan Stuckey - English III; Chase Wilson - Chemistry; sophomores Andy Bean - Biology; Joy Dudley - Economics, Geometry; Jessica House - Algebra II/III; Abby McAvoy - English II, Computer; Whitney McTier - Spanish II; Brooke Wiley - Government; freshmen Sarah Nutial - English I, World History, Spanish I, Physical Science, Algebra II; Mallory Pilcher - Algebra I; eighth graders Caitlin Burnside - English/Reading, Algebra I, Computer, Science, Georgia History; Adam Hardy - Computer; Paige Sullivan - Algebra I; seventh graders Emily Henderson - Math, Science, History; Maggie Keene - English/Reading; and sixth grader Brandy Ray -English/Reading, Math, Science, History.

Junior Bonnie Bounds received the Daughters of the American Revolution Award, which is presented to the member of the junior class who maintains the highest overall average in the US History class for the year.

Luke Cochran received the Good Citizenship Medal presented by the DAR. The medal is presented to a member of the eighth grade class who exemplifies honor, courage, service, leadership, patriotism, trustworthiness and personality. Three students from the eighth grade class are nominated by the teachers. From these nominees, the eighth grade class members vote on the recipient.

Beth Gerlach received the DAR Good Citizen Award. The award is presented to a member of the Senior Class who exemplifies dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. The recipient is selected by the high school faculty from a list of students nominated by the Senior Class.

Lois McGinty Science Scholarships in the amount of $250 each are presented each year to the student with the highest average in Life Science and the highest average in Physical Science. Mrs. McGinty was a science teacher at Briarwood. Emily Henderson received the award for Life Science and Sarah Nutial received the award for Physical Science.

Senior Katie Reese received the $1000 Jud P. Wilhoit Scholarship. The scholarship is provided by the family of Wilhoit in honor of the Briarwood founder and long-time supporter. The scholarship is designed to recognize a student who deserves support in pursuing his/her education. It is awarded annually to a senior who has an academic average of 80 or above, who has been active in extracurricular activities and who has exemplified leadership, scholarship and trustworthiness. The student must be accepted as a full time college student.

Perfect Attendance was rewarded by a certificate. Certificates were presented to: seven years - Jessica House; four years - Bonnie Bounds, Lindsey Burnley; three years - Jacob Gay, Joseph Batrous, Whitney McTier, Charlie Hall, Nick Dawson, Grace Blackmon-Hughes, Rachel Coxwell; two years - Whitney Carani, Sarah Nutial, Erin Wester, Morgan Reese, Brandon Brewer; and one year - Amanda Rutkowski, Andrew Johnson, Ben Raburn, Jonathan Gay, Eric Johnson, Mary Ashley Gibson, Jackson Douglas, Savannah Carani, Jarrod Pickard and John Bounds.

Web posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006

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