Some of the county’s smartest young people were honored Thursday night during the annual STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) Banquet at the University of North Georgia Cumming Campus.
Presented by Cumming Kiwanis Club, the event honored students at the seven high schools in Forsyth County with the highest SAT scores.
Student Aditya Hemant Bhave of South Forsyth High School was singled out during the event for being the district’s STAR student, having scored a 1580 on his SAT — an almost-perfect score.
STAR students and teachers
Forsyth Central High School
Student: Cooper R. Meitz
Teacher: Donna Governor
Horizon Christian Academy
Student: In Kyu Jang
Teacher: Lisa Stiles
Lambert High School
Student: Nicholas Hwang
Teacher: Lisa Oswald
North Forsyth High School
Student: Brendan Floody
Teacher: Amanda Swafford
Teacher: Carla Chwat
South Forsyth High School
Student: Aditya Hemant Bhave
Teacher: Angela Satterfield
West Forsyth High School
Student: Taylor Harville
Teacher: Rebecca Britten
“It’s the brightest of the brightest here tonight,” said Scot Roehm, past president of Cumming Kiwanis Club. “[These students] have already achieved so much through their learning careers, and we think it’s important to recognize their hard work … also, the teachers here tonight bring out the very best in these young people.”
Keynote speaker for the evening of accolades was Gavin Cloy, a member of the USA Paralympics and former school teacher. He talked to young people about the importance of staying in school and achieving their dreams.
After losing both his legs in an accident, Cloy was able to learn to walk again using prosthetics and would later go on to become a competitive athlete.
Those in attendance listening to Cloy included the STAR students, teachers and their families.
Speaking at the podium Thursday night, Nolan Christopher Stafford of Pinecrest Academy thanked his family for their support. Stafford will be attending Washington University in St. Louis and playing football there. He bragged on STAR teacher Carla Chwat.
“Some people would say a science kind of guy like me wouldn’t necessarily choose a literature teacher [for this] … but I’ve been with her junior and senior year … She teaches in a way that really engages you in her class, and it’s one of the most enjoyable classes I have,” Stafford said.
Taylor Harville of West Forsyth High School said she hopes to attend Vanderbilt University. She said STAR teacher Rebecca Britten “has always been supportive” and “she helped me through one of the most difficult times of my life, and has always been there for me, and I really appreciate that she’s a teacher who really cares for her students.”
Forsyth Central High School student Cooper R. Meitz hopes to attend MIT or Caltech to study engineering. He said his STAR teacher, Donna Governor, “was the first teacher who made science interesting and fun for me.”
In Kyu Jang of Horizon Christian Academy said that in his future studies he hopes to find a cure for dementia and Alzheimer’s. He said his STAR teacher, Lisa Stiles, helped him “in so many aspects of life … she’s such a wonderful teacher.”
Brendan Floody of North Forsyth High School aims to attend Benedectine College in Kansas and study philosophy, theology or engineering.
Floody said he selected STAR teacher Amanda Swafford because “she was the first teacher that made math enjoyable for me. I looked forward to going to math class every day thanks to her.”
Nicholas Hwang of Lambert High School said he hopes to attend University of Georgia or Georgia Tech with a degree in business. He said his STAR teacher Lisa Oswald is “absolutely amazing. She’s super passionate about her subjects. She’s the kind of teacher who’s there ridiculously early in the morning and is always there to answer questions … and she’s always encouraged me.”
Bhave of South Forsyth High School said he hopes to go to college at Brown University. He said his STAR teacher Angela Satterfield “is a phenomenal teacher … with so much dedication to not only the school but her students. The individual attention she gives to every one of us is truly amazing.”