Some of Middle Georgia’s brightest in spotlight at 41st Golden Eagle Awards

Some of Middle Georgia's brightest and most talented students were rewarded Tuesday for their hard work and excellence in school.

The Telegraph's 41st annual Golden Eagle Awards included 184 students from 22 schools in seven midstate counties. Twelve winners received a Golden Eagle trophy and $1,000, and honorable mention recipients received $300.

“These students are the total package,” Telegraph publisher Rodney Mahone said to hundreds in the Grand Opera House theater Tuesday evening. “It’s a distinct honor just to be nominated.”

Hannah Strudwick, a senior at Howard High School who won a Golden Eagle for drama, had nothing but gratitude and praise for her teachers. “To bring this home, especially for Howard, is huge,” Strudwick said. “I’m so excited and I’m so thankful for my teachers.” Strudwick helped change the structure of drama classes by pushing for an audition to be a requirement for its students.

“There was a lot of what I call, ‘fine arts dumping,’ ” Strudwick said, adding that about 15 in a class of 50 truly cared to learn. “There were a lot of kids who needed fine arts credit who came to the class and just took it as ... an easy ‘A.’ It wasn’t conducive to a positive learning environment for the 15 that wanted to be there."

2018 Golden Eagle winners

Art: Olsen Jones, First Presbyterian Day School

Athletics: Asia Laconico, Mount de Sales Academy

Citizenship: Caroline Gowan, Veterans High School

Drama: Hannah Strudwick, Howard High School

English Literature: Maddie Jackson, Howard High School

Foreign Language: Madelaine Kinnebrew, The Westfield School

Industrial/Vocational: Charley Lollis, Perry High School

Journalism: Adam Chalmers, The Westfield School

Mathematics: Nischal Bandi, Stratford Academy

Music: Micah Johnston, Central High School

Science: Tejas Athni, Stratford Academy

Technology: Akshay Rannabhotu, Stratford Academy

Mercer University Scholarship: Sarah Spalding, Warner Robins High School 2018 Honorable mention recipients

Honorable mention recipients

Art: Aimoni Walker, Warner Robins High School

Athletics: Jacob Cook, Bleckley County High School

Citizenship: Antoneshia Knighton - Hutchings College & Career Center

Drama: Nia Robinson, Warner Robins High School

English Literature: Scott Cummings, Warner Robins High School

Foreign Language: Gabriel Medlin, Mary Persons High School

Industrial/Vocational: Garrett Wurdeman, Veterans High School

Journalism: Sarah Harvin, Howard High School

Mathematics: Dalton Ford, Tattnall Square Academy

Music: Janelle Dulin, Mount De Sales Academy

Science: John Drinkwater, First Presbyterian Day School

Technology: Bryan Arnold, Warner Robins High School