When Maggie Rollins started Greenbrier High School as a freshman in 2010, she looked forward to taking an art course, but instead found herself in an agriculture class.
Because Greenbrier’s juniors and seniors are first in line for course selection, popular classes such as art fill up quickly.
“Agriculture is one of the classes where they sort of base your entire school career around a career involving agriculture,” said Maggie, now a junior at Greenbrier. “That was not my plan at all.”
Maggie, who moved out of the agriculture program as a sophomore, has found a way to turn her plight into a positive.
When asked on an application how her school system could improve, the 16-year-old wrote that freshmen should not be boxed into taking courses for a career path they don’t want.
“It’s a big enough change from the way middle school works without having to worry about what you need to take in order to be in a future career that you may not know you want yet,” she said.
That application was one of 750 received by state Superintendent John Barge’s office for his 2012-2013 student advisory council.
The lone representative from Columbia County schools, Maggie is one of 50 students across Georgia selected to serve on the council.
The group will gather twice throughout the year. The first meeting was held in Atlanta on Nov. 28.
Council members give Barge input on the effect of state policies in the classroom, and other education-related issues.
Retired Col. Louis Sylvester, a Greenbrier guidance counselor, selected Maggie and a handful of students he advises to apply for a spot on the council.
Sylvester looked at academic performance when choosing the students, he said.
Maggie has maintained a 4.0 GPA at Greenbrier.
“I truthfully did not even expect to be the one chosen of the group, but I’m glad I was,” she said. “I think it’ll be a good opportunity to just expand what I know now.”
Maggie is currently taking accelerated courses, including literature and math.
“She will meet expectations, and she will exceed them, guaranteed,” said Maggie’s physics teacher, Nancy Riddle.
Riddle described Maggie as mature, responsible and having a lot of integrity.
“She will not brag on herself at all,” Riddle said. “She’s very talented.”
After graduation, Maggie said she wants to pursue a career as a business translator.
Currently learning Spanish, Japa-nese and sign language, Maggie hopes to take a French course at Greenbrier next year.
“It just seemed to be fun,” she said of knowing multiple languages. “I could travel the world and go anywhere and still be able to talk to everyone.”