Northside High senior among honorees at board meeting

PERRY -- Tuesday’s Houston County school board meeting included plenty of salutes for the system’s students and teachers.

Chief among them was Northside High School senior Olivia McMillan, who was crowned Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in August. Besides holding the title for 2015, McMillan also received a $25,000 scholarship.

After the board recognized her, McMillan performed the aria “Nessun Dorma,” drawing praise from board members.

Member Bryan Upshaw has two children and said he hopes his children can learn from “role models” like McMillan and others honored at the meeting.

“Hopefully, they’ll follow in your footsteps,” he said.

Superintendent Mark Scott said after the meeting that McMillan is a reflection of the county’s fine arts efforts. He pointed out that she also competed with Northside’s One-Act Play group, which recently won a Class AAAAA state championship for its performance of “The Music Man.”

“We’re very proud of our fine arts programs,” Scott said. “She’s a prime example of what we’re striving for.”

McMillan, who moved to Houston County from Bibb County when she was 8 years old, credited the fine arts opportunities she received in the county for many of her achievements so far.

“I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am and would not have had the successes that I’ve had had it not been for growing up in this school system,” she said. “I’m so fortunate to have received the opportunities that I have here.”

Also among the recognitions Tuesday:

Thomson Middle School Teacher of the Year Terra McMillan has secured $4,500 in grants for the school’s science department.

The county’s school psychologists were honored as part of National School Psychologists Week.

Several of Perry High School’s FFA teams competed at the national level, led by its national championship Nursery and Landscaping team. Ben Parker won individual honors.

Kings Chapel Elementary School fourth-grader Justin Bridges grew a 22 1/2-pound cabbage, good enough to win the state Bonnie Plants Third-Grade Cabbage program.

Scott did address the county’s enrollment figures that were released recently. The system grew by 198 students from October 2013 to October 2014 and remained Middle Georgia’s largest public school system.

“People want to come to our community, and it is an attribute of what everybody does on a daily basis making sure the kids are taken care of,” he said.

To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.