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Mentorship program introduces students to careers
Flowery Branch High student Chanel Lear speaks with Luz Sowers.

Honors Mentorship presentation makeup night

What: Presentations by Honors Mentorship Program participants

When: 3-4:30 p.m. Monday

Where: Hall County Schools Central Office, 711 Green St., Gainesville

More info: Jennifer Killingsworth, 770-967-9826, ext. 7232, or

Digital presentations of the students’ work are online at

East Hall High senior Jiovany Reyes plans to be a neurosurgeon, a career goal he’s determined thanks to participating in the Honors Mentorship Program.

“It’s been a great blessing, because I want to be a doctor,” Reyes said about the program. “But I wasn’t sure what area I wanted to be in.”

In his junior year, Reyes’ mentor was a general practice doctor. Reyes said he enjoyed learning more about the practice, but decided the office environment wasn’t for him.

“This year, I’m at the Gainesville Surgery Center,” he said. “I get to go in with the doctors, and it’s more fast-paced. It was exactly what I was looking for. It’s been a great blessing to be there with the doctors, side by side.”

Reyes, along with other Hall high school juniors and seniors, presented a project about his work with the center at Thursday evening’s Honors Mentorship Program’s Community Presentation Night.

Through the program, the school district’s high-achieving students can go to area businesses in their preferred career field.

“They are in areas all over the county, from health care to lawyers to engineering,” said Jennifer Killingsworth, the South Hall Honors Mentorship coordinator. “They get to actually go work with the people and see what they’re doing, see what their career is really all about instead of just studying it from a textbook.”

Meganne Jackson, a senior at West Hall High, initially thought she wanted to go into pharmaceutical work, but learned that wasn’t for her when she worked with a pharmacy her junior year.

“I realized that’s not what I wanted to do in life,” she said. “So I tried something new and I ended up loving it.
“You’ve got to figure out what you like and what you don’t like,” she added. “I mean, right now I might be going to pharmacy school, not knowing if I like it or not and ended up not liking it.”

Jackson spent the past year at Guilford Immediate Care, working in the walk-in clinic twice a week. She now plans to attend Brenau University for a degree in nursing.

For Chestatee High junior Madisen Mayfield, the experience is an affirmation of what she wants to do with her life.

Her mentorship with Chestnut Mountain Church in Flowery Branch involved extensive work with its marketing department. For part of her project presentation, she displayed the designs she created for the church’s various marketing campaigns over the year.

She’s particularly proud of her first design, a glass of water and wine set against a black background to illustrate one of Jesus’ miracles, turning water into wine.

“My passions are media, marketing, advertising,” Mayfield said. “And also, ministry has always been a big part of my life. So what I wanted to do was mesh all four of those together, and combine a project like that.”

She said she hopes her designs and media savvy can be used to help increase church attendance, similar to how corporate businesses use advertising to gain consumers.

Mayfield will work with Chestnut Mountain over the summer, and also complete the Honors Mentorship Program with the church through her senior year.

“I really want to pursue marketing and advertising,” she said.

To participate in the Honors Mentorship Program, rising seniors and juniors must go through an application process involving submitting a resume and being interviewed.

“We are looking for those students who have basically exhausted the possibilities at the high school,” Killingsworth said. “And those students who have a real passion for the career that they’re going into.”

Reyes, displaying video of a surgery, clearly has that passion. He said he plans to attend Berry College to major in biology, then go to Emory University School of Medicine.

“The surgeries weren’t actually as bloody as I wanted them to be,” he said, laughing about his mentorship experience. “They were just minor, outpatient surgeries.

“I imagined the body different. Because once the doctor’s in there, it just amazed me how everything’s arranged. I studied it in (classes), but it’s nothing like being in person and seeing it.”

There are around 60 Hall County students in the Honors Mentorship Program; as not all participants were able to be at Thursday’s presentation, a second event is scheduled for 3-4:30 p.m. Monday at the Hall County Schools Central Office, 711 Green St., Gainesville.

The digital summaries of the student research projects can be viewed online at