CUMMING — Kelli Schuyler described him as eclectic, special, quirky and different.
Yet those qualities are why the Forsyth Central High science teacher said she values Paul Cromer and enjoys having him in class every day.
Schuyler went on to praise Cromer before an auditorium full of parents and students Thursday at the Central STARS event.
During the celebration, Cromer was honored as both the Top Dog, for earning the school’s highest SAT score, and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators' STAR student for Central.
Cromer, who plans to study engineering in college, said the best part about being named STAR student wasn’t the honor, but “getting to choose our STAR teacher.”
In selecting Schuyler, he noted she has been an amazing teacher, but “above all, she encouraged me not just in school but out of school.”
After having Cromer for two years, Schuyler said she’s gotten to know the student well.
“He’s one of those rare individuals that isn’t afraid to march to the beat of his own drum,” she said. “Be different, stand out, celebrate your quirks as part of your inherent genius and your unique potential to significantly contribute to society.”
While Cromer earned the school’s highest accolades, the celebration was also for all of Central’s STARS, or Students Taking Academic Responsibility Seriously.
“We are very excited to be able to recognize these students today,” said Principal Rudy Hampton. “It’s something we take a great deal of pride in and it’s something that’s important to everybody.”
The 117 students recognized each scored at least 1,100 on the SAT, not including the writing portion, or 24 on the ACT.
The commitment to academic excellence was not lost on Forsyth County School Superintendent Buster Evans, who attended the event, along with several county school board members.
“You got it right. You made some decisions, you made some choices, you worked very, very hard,” Evans told the students. “You are a large part of the reason for the success of the … school system.”
While it was the school’s highest total SAT score, Cromer was not the only student to total a 2,150. It’s why the school’s Top Dog award had to include cumulative grade-point averages to break the tie.
After honoring Cromer, Hampton turned to the future seniors.
“All of you can do this,” he said. “It’s a matter of the choices you make. I challenge all of you to ... be sitting here next year.”