Hunter Hays, a sixth grader at Model Middle School, was recognized Monday at an awards ceremony at the Georgia Department of Education hosted by Georgia State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. John D. Barge.
Hays was honored for receiving the Nicolas Green Distinguished Student Award. The award is sponsored by the National Association of Gifted Children and is given to one student in every state in grades three through six. Recipients of the award have distinguished themselves in academics, leadership, or the arts.
The National Association of Gifted Children’s goal in bestowing the Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award is to inspire children to achieve to their fullest potential, highlight high-ability students, and draw attention to the educational needs of our nation’s gifted and talented students. Hays was nominated for the award by his administrators and teachers at Model Middle School.
The Nicolas Green Award was determined based on the nominees’ response to a 750-word composition. In the composition, Hays wrote that he had an interest in public performance because he recently won the Floyd County Gifted Oratorical Contest. See Hunter Hays’ speech Hays began to perform in public in church at the age of three. He also wrote that public speaking has had a tremendous effect on his life. He credited it with boosting his self confidence. Hays said, “My speaking ability has shown me that even though I am a middle school boy, a tiny spec in the universe, I can still change my world.”
Hays’ goal is to one day use his love of speaking to become a lawyer, politician or pastor. He received a plaque from the National Association of Gifted Children, a Certificate of Excellence from the Georgia Department of Education, and a $500 U.S. savings bond.
The Nicholas Green Foundation was established by Maggie and Reg Green to honor the memory of their seven-year-old son Nicholas who was killed in a drive-by shooting while visiting Italy in 1994.
The Greens paired with NAGC to start the Distinguished Student Awards because they wanted to recognize young people who are: 1.) working hard to make the most of their lives to develop their unique gifts and talents and 2.) around the age of Nicholas at the time of his death. One child in each state may be named a Nicholas Green Distinguished Student.