Well rounded Booker star in academics, life
By Kathryn Purcell
Morgan County High School senior Julian Booker, to say the least, is no slouch.
On top of being the Class of 2008's valedictorian, Booker is also a National Merit Scholarship winner, an award based on PSAT/NMSQT score, among other things, and a National Achievement Scholarship winner, an honor given specifically to outstanding black high school students also based on PSAT/NMSQT score.
Booker was also named STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) student this year, part of a 50-year-old program established by PAGE (the Professional Association of Georgia Educators). The program requires each STAR student to choose a STAR teacher; Booker chose Assistant Principal and teacher Pat Lemming.
Lemming describes Booker as diligent, determined and extremely well-prepared.
“He was an excellent student,” Lemming said. “The thing that impressed me most is the fact that he’s so compassionate...He’s a compassionate, caring person. That’s a side he doesn't show to very many people.”
On Saturdays, however, Booker does indeed show that side of himself, as he works with Morgan County Habitat for Humanity. His career with Habitat began as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, as the program requires a certain amount of community service hours. After his hours were finished, Booker became attached. Recalling helping to build his first house, Booker remembers the sense of accomplishment he felt while finishing placing the shingles on the roof.
“The sun was shining down, the breeze was blowing,” Booker said, of the experience.
“And helping people is a nice side effect.”
And his work hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Morgan County Habitat for Humanity. This year he was named “Volunteer of the Year” by the group.
“He’s a very good worker,” Hiram Johnston, of Habitat for Humanity, said.
“He’s real quiet around the Habitat men, but he just pitches in and does what’s needed to be done. He takes instruction, asks what he’s needed to do, asks questions and he learns quickly. He didn’t have a lot of skills, but he watches and helps. He wants to try it on his own. He’s a different kind of kid.”
Booker will attend the University of Georgia in the fall, where he recently learned he was accepted as a Foundation Fellow, part of the university’s most prestigious scholarship program that includes full tuition and study abroad opportunities, among other things. His plans are to study International Affairs, International Business, Dietetics, Sociology or Medicine, all subjects Booker finds may relate to the problem of poverty and how to solve it.
“His real mission is to be able to learn, and to help other people,” Principal Mark Wilson said. “That may be the thing he’s smartest about.”