Not every Georgia high school student can be a star.
But with perfect 2400 SAT scores, academic stardom is what nine area students are pursuing.
During the annual regional STAR, or Student Teacher Achievement Recognition, banquet Friday, nine students from Region 3A were selected to represent it at the state competition in April.
Chairman Randy Meincke said the region has “consistently, over the years, produced many scholastic achievers who have achieved perfect scores.”
Still, the nine perfect scores this year set a record.
“It goes to show the caliber of students that we have, the caliber of teachers that we have and the caliber of schools we have in this area,” Meincke said.
The event, held at the Windermere Golf & Country Club in south Forsyth, welcomed the top SAT performers from the Atlanta, Buford, Decatur and Marietta city school systems, as well as those from Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett county school systems.
From Forsyth, both Forsyth Central High School’s Anna Lindsey Purcell and Lambert High’s Youngeon “Ann” Kim scored a 2310 out of a possible 2400 on their SAT. Their STAR journeys ended Friday.
John M. Barker and Daniel L. He from Atlanta, Jacob M. Albert and Lisa Wang from Cobb and Ananth Punyala, Adam D. Silverman, Kevin H. Sun, Sitan Chen and Willy Chen from Fulton will go on to represent the region.
The STAR program is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.
Started in 1958, the program has honored more than 23,000 high school seniors and their STAR teachers.
Each of the 18 students that made it to the regional event was asked to select a teacher who had inspired them to excel.
Among those instructors was Adrian Dingle, a chemistry teacher at the Westminster Schools, Barker’s STAR teacher.
Dingle said the students are all gifted, but “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
And it’s not just about having intelligence, said Penney Sconzo, also a STAR teacher from Westminster.
“You’re all smart,” she told the STAR students. “You all have knowledge and information. It’s what you do with it. It’s how you use that information.”
STAR teacher Andrew Adams, from Cobb’s Walton High School said he’s motivated by the students.
“When you think of the passion that you folks have and the difference you’re going to make in this world, it’s awe-inspiring,” he said.
During the luncheon, students each got to talk about their future plans and why they selected their teachers.
While most students were still waiting to hear back from colleges, the career goals they shared were often lofty. A few plan to study economics and medicine, while others are eyeing other science and math-related fields.
Allene Magill, the association’s executive director and former Forsyth County superintendent, said the teachers are consistently able to provide a challenge to even the brightest students.
The students, she said, “make me feel inspired.”
“[They’re] very ambitious, very intelligent, but within that ambition and intelligence, we see a human side,” she said. “They really care about fellow man and they’re looking forward to making a difference in the world.”