Reading, writing and arithmetic may have been earlier models for education, but it is this and much more at Greene County High School, which is producing some of the area’s leading high school graduates. Valedictorian Zanobia Brown and Salutatorian Kennedy League prove a steady concentration of core classes, electives and honor dual enrollment have not only saved money toward college expense but also given them the advantage of attending one of the state’s flagship schools, the University of Georgia. GCHS prides itself on its teacher-student ratio of 13:1, enabling students to spend quality time with teachers.
A League of her own
League moved to Greene County at the end of her eighth-grade year and started as a freshman at high school. She liked that the high school was smaller and with the ratio was able to reach out to her teachers to best guide her with her class interests. This included a keen interest in biology and she worked closely with Megan Calicott, who was recently honored as the school’s Teacher of the Year. She enjoyed other subjects as well and took an ecology class with an emphasis on wildlife biology. She was a STAR recognition student and had the highest SAT score in her graduating class. “My aunt is a veterinarian,” she said. “I have considered becoming a veterinarian as well because I have many animals. I have spoken with her a lot and UGA is well known for their program.” League was active in the school’s winning band program and played the drums. She is knowledgeable about music in general and has both a keyboard and drum set at home. It is a passion she intends to continue in college, she said. In her address to her classmates upon graduation she challenged them to do “great things.” She mentioned that change can be scary, but it shows growth. It encourages individuality when being on your own after “13 years of being in school.”
Brown wears the crown
Brown is a lifelong resident of Greensboro and attended all Greene County Schools, a fact she is proud to share. She has strong family roots in education in the area as her grandfather was the first Black principal at Union Point Elementary.
Brown said she had always set her sights on becoming a valedictorian.
“In eighth grade, I was the salutatorian,” she said. “Although not the Valedictorian, I knew I would get there. I consider myself an overachiever.”
And she is. Brown, like League, made education a priority and credits her parents. She claimed she didn’t like making poor grades, and her mother pushed her to achieve higher scores in virtually every subject.
“My parents were instrumental,” she said. “It was embedded in me to do well.”Brown always seemed to gravitate toward science and math as she enjoyed these subjects, feeling there was only one answer to each problem posed. She took advantage of band as well and also was in dance and cheer in the ninth grade. A trip to Peru that she was selected for in 2018 gave her a good look at community involvement on a large scale and she took that home to become involved in a number of extracurricular activities. A number of honor courses and dual enrollment has her entering college with more than a semester’s worth of credits.
Drawing on her interest in science, Brown is looking at becoming a kinesiologist, one who studies the biomechanical processes of the body. A special program at the high school exposed her to sports medicine and emergency medicine in health care setting.
“I want to be able to help people,” she said. “I see some members of my family with poor mobility. With this knowledge, I feel like I could do more for not only my family but post-surgical patients.”
At the podium, she shared to her graduating class that she felt they were going to change the world.
“Do the best you can do and be happy with it,” she said.
Besides sharing the podium on graduation night, both Brown and League will room together at UGA in the fall, having received academic scholarship funds as well as securing the state’s PELL grant and the HOPE scholarship. They do, however, hope to have some fun getting ready for school with the time-honored accouterments of college life.
They have just six weeks left and are already well on their way.