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STAR students set sights on science careers
West Forsyth High School STAR student Sara Taylor Jenkins chose Janet Pavlicek as her STAR teacher. - photo by Jennifer Sami

CUMMING — High SAT scores and grade-point averages are just the beginning for the seven STARs from Forsyth County.

The students from Forsyth’s five public high schools, as well as Pinecrest Academy and Horizon Christian Academy, have big plans for the future, which they shared Thursday night during the annual Kiwanis Club Student Teacher Achievement Recognition, or STAR, program.

The program, conducted through the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, recognizes students with the highest SAT scores, as well as their STAR teachers, those who have motivated them during their high school career.

West Forsyth High School STAR student Sara Taylor Jenkins had the highest SAT score of the group, with a 2,360 out of a possible 2,400. She will go on to represent the county at the regional event later this month. Her chose Janet Pavlicek as her STAR teacher.

Jenkins plans to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and attend the U.S. Naval Academy, where she wants to focus on architecture and aviation.

“I wanted to go to a school where I could enter the Navy and help serve my nation,” she said. “The naval architecture program is one of very few in the country … that really intrigued me, and I want to go into aviation as well, so I thought that would be a good route.”

Akhila Moturu, South Forsyth’s representative, plans to pursue a career in biochemical and molecular biology, and is also looking at business management with a focus on entrepreneurial endeavors. Moturu’s STAR teacher was Melissa Smith.

Like Moturu, John Meersman of Pinecrest is planning a future in science. He is waiting to hear back on which college he will attend, but plans to study biochemistry and cell biology with an alternate in health care management. His goal is to go to medical school and be a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon. He chose Theresa Guard as his STAR teacher.

Forsyth Central’s Paul Cromer said he’s not sure about his future. He plans to start in engineering, but said “whatever I’m going to do, I’m going to have fun in it.” His STAR teacher was Kelli Schuyler.

Lavanya Natchiappan is looking at MIT and Vanderbilt, but the Lambert winner plans on entering the medical field, preferably biomedical engineering research. Natchiappan’s STAR teacher was David Zink.

Amanda Watters of Horizon said she’s “going in all sorts of directions” while trying to make her college choice. But her ultimate goal is clear —a pre-med track to work with stem cells toward a cure of Alzheimer’s disease. Melanie Godwin was her STAR teacher.

Event keynote speaker University of North Georgia President Bonita Jacobs applauded “these outstanding students from these outstanding schools.”