Four chosen for Governor’s School

By Jeff Linville -

Four local rising seniors have been chosen to participate in Governor’s School of North Carolina.

Grace Hall of East Surry High School will be joined by three other students from the area, including two students from Mount Airy City Schools and one other student from Surry County Schools. taking part in the learning sessions.

Joining Grace will be Jessica Bevard and Anna Ilyasova, Mount Airy, taking part in the session based at Salem College in Winston-Salem. Caleb Cooke, of North Surry, will be in the East session, held at Meredith College in Raleigh.

Governor’s School is a summer residential program for intellectually gifted high school students that integrates academic disciplines, the arts, and unique courses. It lasts five and a half weeks.

The state Board of Education says of Governor School:

Imagine A Summer Program

… where students who are among the best and brightest gather for the love of learning and the joy of creativity

… where teachers and students form a community while searching together for answers to challenging questions

… where there are no grades or tests

Grace Hall said she will participate in the foreign-language focus at Salem this summer.

“I am interested in Spanish because my grandfather was missionary in Boliva and Mexico. He always spoke Spanish around our home,” Hall said. “It’s been a big part of my family household for a long time – it’s like second nature.”

As for the future, she said, “I would like to attend a four-year college. Considered several career choices, haven’t decided for sure. I want to continue my study of Spanish.”

One of those fields that interests her is law, where being bilingual could be a big help in attracting new client.

Other than her schoolwork, Hall said, “I have worked on a horse farm; I love riding horses. I have a job, 20 hours or more a week as hostess in a local restaurant. I love to bake; for now I only bake for family events.”

At East Surry, the daughter of David Hall and Maria Goings has been part of the Interact Club, the debate team and National Honor Society.

“This is a life-changing opportunity,” Hall said, adding modestly, “I didn’t consider myself smart enough to make Governor’s School. I thought I was smart, but not that caliber.”

“I am excited to broaden my perspective and learn new things,” she added. “Teachers have given advice and ideas for every step of the way — they have been part of my process.”

Bevard and Ilyasova are both going to study in the Natural Science field.

Ilyasova was recently named a Star student for Mount Airy. Among her many accomplishments listed on a plaque at the district office are: freshman class secretary, sophomore class president, secretary and president-elect of the HOSA Club, president of the Interact Club, first place in a district HOSA competition, and first runner-up for the Hugh O’Brian World Leadership Conference Scholarship.

Ilyasova is fluent in English and Russian and has studied Spanish and French. Last year she spent a month in France through an exchange program.

“I really wanted to go to Governor’s School because I have heard about how great the program is, but also because I am really interested in science,” said the junior, who aspires to be a doctor.

“I am dual-enrolled with the NC School of Science and Math, and involved in the HOSA Club, which is a health science organization, so I thought that going to a summer program would be the next step,” she said. “I know that it can be very competitive, but I am really happy that I was accepted and I can’t wait to go. I hope that this program lets me learn more about natural science, but I also hope that the whole experience will be fun as well.”

Bevard also has dual-enrollment with the School of Science and Math.

In addition to being smart, Bevard has been in the papers a few times lately for her athletic ability.

“I like to run track and play volleyball,” she said.

Bevard doesn’t just run track, she excels.

At the Northwest Conference Championship, Bevard was second in the 400 meters and third in triple jump. She and her teammates won first place in 4×800 relay.

At the West Regional, Bevard was second in the 300m hurdles.

At the state championship, Bevard was ninth in hurdles and won a gold medal with the 4×800 relay team with Jo Snow, Hanne Cooke and Shelbey Taylor.

After graduation, Bevard plans to attend UNC Chapel Hill to major in pre-medicine.

Headed east to Raleigh is North’s Caleb Cooke, with a focus in social science.

“Ever since I took AP World History my sophomore year, the social sciences have always appealed to me. Especially in regards to law, I have a great interest in interactions among people in the community and how it affects the unfolding of history right before us.”

After graduation, he said, “I want to attend either Harvard College, Georgetown University or Columbia University to obtain a double major in both Music Composition and Pre-Law. I then want to attend Harvard University to obtain my law degree, hopefully to enter politics and become a senator.”

While Cooke has long enjoyed music, he said he originally hadn’t planned on being part of the Greyhound band because of worries it would interfere with his studies.

“After finding that it didn’t, I eagerly joined band, both concert and marching. I was recently chosen to be drum major for the 2016-2017 school year.

“While holding my leadership qualities to a high level, I feel I also hold my musicianship to high standards as well. Last year, I was chosen to take part in the Northwest All-District Band Clinic at Appalachian State University, competing with approximately 1,200 musicians for around 200 spots. I have always had an interest in music and plan to continue to write and play music for the rest of my life.”

Outside of school, he said, “I enjoy playing golf and reading. I have recently picked up writing as a hobby. I am also an avid shopper to the dismay of my wallet.”

Cooke has a full plate on campus.

“I am involved with my school’s Student Government Association, Interact Club, and, of course, band. I was recently elected by my peers to represent North Surry as student body president for the upcoming school year. In March, I was elected Secretary of the North Carolina Association of Student Councils by upwards of 80 schools’ delegates. I also serve as Vice President of the Interact Club, sponsored by Rotary. Three other Interact members and I recently attended the district conference in West Virginia, held at the Greenbrier. That was a truly beautiful and fun experience!”

As for family, “I have two greatly supportive and loving parents who have taught me everything I know. They have given me a positive mindset to last my entire life. I would not be half the person I am today without my parents. I have an awesome role model of an older brother, August, who is currently attending Surry Community College to obtain an associate’s degree to become a nurse or physical therapist’s assistant. I also have an extremely talented younger sister, Juliana, who is currently a freshman at North Surry.”

By Jeff Linville

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

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