Paulding County schools’ top 2019 graduates also were busy in other areas during their academic careers.

Many of the highest achieving students among the 2,171 Paulding seniors graduating Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, participated in extracurricular activities in the past four years, according to a variety of sources.

According to the Paulding County School District, this year’s top students included:

East Paulding High School: valedictorian Sarah Secrist and salutatorian Alfonso Garcia.

Secrist was a drum major for the East Paulding marching band. She also was active in local theater productions at the Dallas Theatre and with the East Paulding Theatre Company, according to information from the Dallas Theater.

Garcia was a member of the East Paulding soccer team. He also shared Paulding County’s Student Teacher Achievement Recognition student award earlier this year and represented Paulding’s school system in a regional round of the annual STAR Student competition this year.

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators sponsored the event. Each school’s student who scored highest on the SAT college entrance exam was named the school’s STAR student and competed for the county’s STAR student award for the top score among all high schools.

Hiram High School: valedictorian Lydia Kenney and salutatorian Logan Parker.

Kenney was Hiram’s STAR student. She also was a member of the Hiram track and cross country teams, and was active in 4-H.

Parker was active in the Hiram High School Band of Gold, among other activities.

North Paulding High School: valedictorian Boris Gulev and salutatorian Sarah Canastra.

Gulev was a 2019 National Merit Scholarship $2,500 winner. He also was a 2018 nominee in mathematics in the Governor’s Honors Program.

Canastra shared Paulding County School District’s STAR Student award earlier this year with Garcia and also represented the county in a state STAR regional round.

GreyStone Power also chose Canastra to participate in the 2018 Washington Youth Tour, which was a weeklong leadership trip to Washington, D.C., for students made possible by local electric cooperatives across the state.

Paulding County High School: valedictorian Ashton Thomason and salutatorian Ally Whiteis.

Whiteis was among Paulding County High students who competed in the Cobb/Paulding Regional Science and Engineering Fair this year. She also was a finalist for the Governor’s Honors Program in 2017-2018. Thomason was on the school’s track and field team.

South Paulding High School: valedictorian Melinda Rose Downey and salutatorian Kaylee Breanne Faulkner.

Downey was South Paulding’s STAR student this year. Faulkner was chosen by GreyStone Power to participate in the 2018 Washington Youth Tour.

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