A Thomas County Central High School student with a love of discovering the unknown and a desire to help make the world a better place has been selected to take part in a prestigious summer initiative.
Junior Celia “C’lee” Kornegay, 16, has earned a slot in this year’s Georgia Governor’s Honors Program.
“I am honored that I was selected to attend GHP,” she said. “I am excited that I get to spend my summer learning with other students who are just as interested in science as I am.”
Kornegay, who was nominated for both math and science, chose science. Her favorite branch is chemistry because she enjoys “learning about why things happen on a molecular level rather than just knowing certain processes.”
“[Scientific] studies are constantly finding new ways to improve life and discovering new breakthroughs that could have a major impact on society,” she said. “I would love to be a part of that.”
GHP is a program that gathers together some of the best and brightest young minds in the state for a unique learning experience.
“I nominated her because of her high achievement in the classroom and active involvement in science beyond the classroom – Science Olympiad, science fair, robotics, etc.,” TCCHS Science Department Chair Laura Kornegay said. “Not only is she involved in these activities, but she has competed successfully at the school, region, and state levels, even international with her winning first place at the International Environmental Youth Symposium.”
Math instructor Darrin Minns, who also nominated Kornegay, taught C’lee in Analytic Geometry, Algebra 2, and AP Statistics. She’s also been a member of the school’s math team for three years and serves as its co-captain this year.
“She's a wonderful student, but what separates her from her peers is her desire to learn new things and explore new subject areas,” Minns said. “She's a joy to teach.”
Kornegay thanked her teachers for nominating her and said she wouldn’t even have been considered without them, especially Judy Holwell who wrote her science recommendation. Once nominated, she “worked hard” on her application to earn an interview and practiced with teachers and students to improve her interview skills.
“The students participating in this program are extremely gifted, and I am honored to have the ability to work with them,” she said. “Through activities such as Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (GJSHS) and Georgia State Science and Engineering Fair (GSEF) I have met people who were also accepted for this program. I am excited!”
TCCHS Assistant Principal James Rehberg believes Kornegay’s nomination by multiple teachers “is a testament to how gifted and talented she is” and he said C’lee “will be right at home” during GHP.
“She has consistently demonstrated academic excellence in and out of the classroom, winning numerous accolades in both science and math across the region, state, and nation,” he said. “I know she will have quite a bit of insight and experience to offer this summer. The program will benefit from her just as much as she'll benefit from it.”
This year’s event will be held June 18 through July 15 at Berry College in Rome.
Part of the GHP experience for science participants is the forming, conducting and sharing of an individual experiment, Kornegay said. She looks forward to this learning opportunity.
“I hope that this experience helps me develop my future science fair projects,” she adds. “I am also looking forward to learning more complex or interesting science techniques that might not be a part of the curriculum we are taught in the classroom. I also hope that I can learn from others’ work to better my own.”