Senior Eagles go for the gold

By ANNA PAREL and HADLEY NEAL, Gazebo Staff Writers

The Stratford Eagles are headed to the Golden Eagles.

Eleven seniors have been nominated for the prestigious Golden Eagles, which annually recognizes local high school students in a dozen categories: English/literature, art, drama, citizenship, foreign language, math, music, industrial/vocational, journalism, athletics, science and technology.

Stratford’s nominees are Ann Thompson (art), Mary Wilson Avant (athletics), Jaedyn Ellis (citizenship), Ally Parker (drama), Savannah Joyner (English/literature), Thomas Slocumb (foreign language), Libby Ellison (journalism), Shishir Bandy (mathematics), Victoria Brown (music), Michelle Tang (science) and Dylan Ogle (technology).

The ceremony will be held Tuesday, April 19 at the Grand Opera House in Macon.  Students were interviewed by a panel of judges in their respective categories on Saturday, March 12.

The Telegraph newspaper in Macon has sponsored the awards for the past 39 years. Each of the winners receives a $1,000 scholarship from The Telegraph.

Ann Thompson

Art: Ann Thompson
Ann is an excellent artist and shows her talent in many different ways. According to Casper Fredrickson, head of the art department, not only is she an outstanding artist, she is also very community minded. She is building a garden at Stratford, has 171 community service hours this year and has gone on several mission trips. She went on her first missionary trip when she was 13. Following that, she went to Uganda to set up clean water filters in the homes of some villagers. She is now considering majoring in Environmental Engineering in college based on her hope to work in this field. Ann is very athletic as well as artistic. She plays basketball and cheers during football season. Although she is busy with school and athletics, she still manages to make time for art. She recently won an award in the art category in the Kiwanis Club Talent Show.

Mary Wilson Avant

Athletics: Mary Wilson Avant
Mary Wilson is one of the most decorated female athletes at Stratford. She has been a star softball and basketball player for all four years of high school and has set several school records for her career in both sports. She is also a very hard-working student and is on High Honors this year. Mary Wilson has signed a scholarship to play softball at the University of Georgia.

Jaedyn Ellis

Citizenship: Jaedyn Ellis
Jaedyn has been involved with the Anti-Defamation League and the Conversation forums at Stratford. Not only has she done a lot in the school community, she has helped with many issues and concerns that occur globally. When she was in her freshman year of high school she was interested in the Save The Children Project. The summer of 2013 she flew to California to talk to some leaders on the Save the Children Project. The next year she and the Multicultural Club raised money to get one of those speakers to come and talk to Stratford. She was crowned Cherry Blossom queen for the festival in 2015.

Ally Parker

Drama: Ally Parker
Ally  has acted since she was 8 years old and has been in 25 shows, two local commercials and one national commercial. Ally has played many star roles in productions both in and out of Stratford. Every summer Ally has helped out at the Macon Little Theatre kids camp and has given back to the younger actors and actresses in the camp by encouraging them on stage. She was crowned Stratford’s homecoming queen last fall.

Savannah Joyner

English/Literature: Savannah Joyner
Savannah is a very talented writer, analytically and creatively. She enjoys reading and isn’t afraid to take risks when writing. She is the president of the Spanish Club, was on the 2013 and 2015 homecoming court and is a member of ADL, the Beta Club, the English Honor Society and SALSA. Savannah has entered her works in the literary magazine for many years and did exceptionally well on the AP 11 last year.

Thomas Slocumb

Foreign Language: Thomas Slocumb
Thomas was nominated because of the number of languages he speaks, and his spoken French is very impressive. He’s been involved in the French club, the French exchange program and is very engaged in other cultures. He is one of the most fluent foreign language speakers. When he has visited French-speaking countries, many people confuse him for a native speaker because of how fluently he speaks. He is a beginner in Lebanese Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese. He also speaks German, Swedish and Portuguese and is on an intermediate level in all of them. He even skypes with friends from Sweden, Lebanon and Brazil to help better his Swedish, Arabic and Portuguese.

Libby Ellison

Journalism: Libby Ellison
Libby joined the Stratford yearbook staff as a freshman in August 2012. According to Juleen Thomas, the yearbook advisor, Stratford does not normally accept accept ninth-graders on The Overlook staff, but it was quickly apparent that Libby had a gift for journalism that would blend with her innate leadership skills. Libby quickly grasped both the mechanics and the concepts of creating a quality yearbook, and assumed leadership of the other freshmen staff members. She showed a knack for asking compelling questions while interviewing teachers and students, and crafting those answers into stories that stimulated her readers. As a sophomore, Libby served as editor of the sports section. She has led the Overlook staff in both her junior and senior years as editor-in-chief.

Shishir Bandi

Mathematics: Shishir Bandi
Shishir has consistently been one of the top math students at Stratford. During his freshman year of high school he took Pre-Calculus. As a junior, he took AP Calculus and as a senior he’s been taking Multivariable Calculus and AP statistics. He has been an online tutor and math intern for the past year and is on the math team. He has brought home many awards after a math competition and has completed two AP calculus classes at Stratford. Recently he began participating in Georgia Tech’s online math classes.

Victoria Brown

Music: Victoria Brown
Victoria Brown is one of the most accomplished musicians at Stratford. She is an excellent percussionist and has been in the band for all four years of her high school career. In addition to being a great musician, she is a phenomenal leader and has worked incredibly hard in everything that she’s done musically. Recently, she participated in a performance with the Mercer marching band. She even got the privilege to run the flag at the end of the show.

Michelle Tang

Science: Michelle Tang
Michelle is an outstanding science student. She will graduate with seven science credits, including every AP course Stratford offers. Luke Harrington, a freshman biology teacher, accelerated biology and AP chemistry teacher, remembers her successfully lobbying the administration to take physics (a course offered to upperclassmen) as a sophomore so that she could make room in her schedule for more AP courses during her junior and senior years. She was awarded the Mary Eva Harper Award for Excellence in Chemistry last year. Michelle has also participated in myriad summer programs in the sciences, including the TIP program at Duke and an internship with a researcher at Baylor.

Dylan Ogle

Technology: Dylan Ogle
Dylan is one of the most skilled workers in technology that Stratford has. He has been experimenting with different technology for many years now. He always keeps up with the the latest happenings and is the tech club president.  The club has even engineered Aunt Maggie’s Kitchen Table by introducing less fortunate children to computers.