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Meet the Valedictorians: Julia Basquin

Grice Connect will feature articles about each of the 2023 Bulloch County Schools valedictorians. Congratulations, Julia!

Julia Basquin, 17, the daughter of Burke and Stacey Basquin of Statesboro, is Statesboro High School’s valedictorian and STAR student. She is the eldest of the Basquin’s three children, followed by Brady (15) and Sara (10).

“My family is proud of my accomplishments,” Julia said. “They have always been the biggest influence in my growth as a person and in my drive and work ethic.”

She believes the work ethic her parents modeled encouraged her and her siblings to achieve as they too are beginning to be recognized for their academic successes.

“My parents have always pushed us to go outside our comfort zone, embrace challenges, have compassion for others, and always put in our very best work.”

Julia has attended Kindergarten through high school in the Bulloch County School System, beginning with Julia P. Bryant Elementary School, where her goal to be valedictorian began, and later William James Middle School.

“When I won the highest grade point average in fifth grade, I realized that I wanted to work hard and achieve this accomplishment in successive grades,” Julia said.

She believes that Statesboro High School did a very good job in preparing her for her next steps from helping her create a four-year plan of rigorous Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses to teaching and encouraging good study skills. However, she admits that achieving her class’ highest academic honor was very competitive.

Julia and Statesboro’s salutatorian, Alexis Vladescu, have been friends throughout high school and have shared several classes.

“I think Alexis and I pushed each other to be the best version of ourselves. We worked on group projects for classes like AP Lang (Advanced Placement English Language and Composition), and we encouraged each other by embracing the value of hard work.”

Through the years, Julia believes that her favorite classes have been the sciences.

“From Mrs. Jackson's eighth-grade physical science class to chemistry, biology, and environmental science, I've always found that I enjoyed learning about Earth's seen and unseen processes.”

She recently took AP Environmental Science, which quickly became her favorite. In class she enjoyed evaluating the impact that humans have on the natural environment. It also helped guide her to her intended major, landscape architect.

“The class sparked my drive to mitigate this human impact as we move into the future. I originally was debating architecture or landscape architecture. What made me choose landscape architecture was my love for nature. There's so much opportunity to promote sustainability and encourage the incorporation of greenspace.”

She has been accepted to the Georgia Institute of Technology, Clemson University, the University of Utah, and Auburn University, but she ultimately decided to attend the University of Georgia.

“It was an honor and privilege to serve as Julia’s teacher,” said Anthony Hammett, one of her favorite teachers, whom she selected as her STAR teacher, after she was named STAR student at SHS for having the highest score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Julia was a student in his AP Government and AP U.S. History classes. “Every teacher should be so lucky to have a student like Julia in their classroom. She is a born leader with a knack to create an environment that her peers feel valued in their contributions to open-ended discussions. She possesses a relentless work ethic in which complacency does not exist. The thing that I most appreciated from my perspective, she is just a great human. I am blessed to have been a small part of her life experience.”

Along with academic rigor, Julia balanced her high school experience with fine arts, athletics, and student clubs like Beta Club, and National Honor Society.

“I've had Mrs. Hayley Ward, one of the visual arts teachers, for all four years, and I think I've grown as both a person and as an artist during my time in the amazing visual arts program at SHS with her as my teacher.”

Julia submitted two Advanced Placement art portfolios and competed in several art competitions. She was also an active member of the National Art Honor Society, and was involved in events such as the Farmer's Market Living Art Exhibit and Arts Fest. She also served as the art editor of the school’s literary magazine, Listen.

She was a member of the varsity tennis team all four years, and served as captain of the team this year. Each of the past three years, the team has both won the region championship and advanced to the Georgia High School Association State Tennis Playoff’s Sweet 16. Winning region this year was a favorite memory of Julia’s because the team was playing in a new region against teams that they’d never played before. She definitely plans to stay involved with tennis in college either through intramurals or club leagues.

Julia is an active member at First Presbyterian Church in Statesboro, where she volunteers with the youth group and participates in helping lead worship. She volunteers with Feed the Boro, and she has helped people in need learn how to sign up and use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers Market’s Market 2 Go program in order to have access to fresh, locally-sourced produce. She has also volunteered at the Seventh-Mile Farm, a 31-acre recreational facility for local foster children and their families.

Julia is one of 154 graduating seniors who were selected by the Georgia Department of Education to be a Georgia Scholar. This is an honor for students who have achieved excellence in school and community life. She received a special seal on her diploma and the privilege of adding this academic honor to her resume. In addition to the HOPE Scholarship, she has also received $5,000 in scholarships from the Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, and the Statesboro Service League.

She is looking forward to meeting new people in college. She encourages her fellow classmates to find their people as they take this next step and always find time to laugh.