For all but three Upson-Lee High School students, the last day of school is Friday, May 25. However, David Baxter, Sara Strouss, and Ken-Terika Zellner have already completed their senior year of high school and are awaiting the graduation ceremony. These ULHS honor seniors attended their final year of high school at the Advanced Academy of Georgia, located at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton. The students lived on campus while participating in Georgia’s innovative, early entrance to college program for gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors. Baxter, Strouss, and Zellner were honored at the Academy Recognition Ceremony on April 14, and their school year ended on April 27, 2012.
The Advanced Academy of Georgia is not a high school. Students enrolled in the Academy take regular and honors college courses taught by University of West Georgia professors and receive both high school and college credits for these courses. Students applying for admission to the Advanced Academy of Georgia must meet or exceed eligibility requirements, which include: SAT composite score of 1150 (580 verbal and 530 math) or ACT composite score of 25 (25 English and 22 math); 3.5 GPA in high school academic courses only; and be on-track in their respective high schools for the College Preparatory Curriculum. Students meeting the minimum admissions requirements are then scheduled for an interview along with their parents. The Advanced Academy of Georgia accepts a maximum of one-hundred academically accelerated and highly motivated students.
The Advanced Academy of Georgia boasts that Academy graduates are accepted into some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country, and the three ULHS students are proof of this fact. In the fall, Baxter will attend Pomona College, Strouss will attend Georgia Institute of Technology, and Zellner will attend Northwestern University. Baxter has been awarded an academic scholarship of $48,335 per year to Pomona College, for a 4-year value of $193,340. Zellner is one of fourteen national recipients of the Ron Brown Scholarship Awards. She will receive a $10,000 per year scholarship for a total of $40,000. All three students will graduate with honors from Upson-Lee High School on May 25, 2012.
David Baxter is the son of John and Ednila Baxter. Sara Strouss is the daughter of Richard and Mary Strouss. Ken-Terika Zellner is the daughter of Terri Searcy and Kenneth Pennyman.