A Dawson County high school student has been selected by the Georgia Department of Education as the Spring 2020 Exemplary English Learner in Georgia.
Briana Ray was born in India and came to the United States in 2009. Her native language is Hindi. When her ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher at Dawson County High School suggested she be nominated for the statewide excellence award, the high school senior said she didn’t expect to win.
“When I got the phone call it really caught me off guard,” Ray said. “My dad and my brother and his wife were all so excited, I just wasn’t expecting it.”
Nominees for the achievement must meet specific guidelines including academic achievement, involvement in extracurricular activities, and strong attendance and discipline records.
During her time at Dawson County High School, Briana has been involved in several clubs and sports, including track, cross country, wrestling, Key Club, Youth Leadership, Juniorettes, Sources of Strength and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
Stefanie Gibbs is the graduation coach at Dawson County High School and knows Ray through FCA. Gibbs was one of the teachers Ray was able to go to with questions or concerns throughout her time at the high school. Following the announcement of Ray’s award, Gibbs said she is extremely proud of what the teen accomplished.
“I think the thing I love the most about Briana is her positive attitude,” Gibbs said. “Even when she has a problem, she never lets it bring her down for long. I first became acquainted with her through the FCA. She shared her testimony to a crowed room of her peers without fear of judgment, and she receives people the same way, without judgment.”
After graduating with the class of 2020, Briana plans to attend Dalton State College to pole vault for the track team and to study criminal justice so that she can join the FBI someday.
“Briana is such a bright light,” Gibbs said. “I am truly blessed to have spent four years with this amazing young woman and I can’t wait to see all she accomplishes in the future.”