Although school is out this week for mid-winter break, three high school students were honored at Covington Kiwanis Club luncheon for their stellar school performances.
The STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) program was created in 1958 by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and is sponsored on a local level by organizations such as Kiwanis.
STAR students, those who post the highest SAT score in one sitting and are in the top 10 of their class, are named at each high school and the student with the highest SAT score is named the system STAR student. Each STAR student selects their favorite teacher to be honored with them as well.
"These students are the top students in their schools," said Perry Haymore, Kiwanis member and STAR program coordinator. "At the same time you’re getting to see the teachers that are motivating these students, so they are also the cream of the crop."
The 2010 Eastside STAR student, also the system STAR student, is Elizabeth Godfrey. She plans to attend the University of Georgia and study music. She chose literature teacher Carla Temple as her STAR teacher.
"I have her for my last class of the day and I look forward to it all day," Godfrey said. "It’s a superb class and she’s an excellent teacher."
Eric Ritenour is this year’s STAR student from Alcovy. He plans to attend Oxford College of Emory University and major in political science. He selected language arts teacher Charles Ardis as his STAR teacher.
"Mr. Ardis came across to me as a teacher that truly cared about teaching," Ritenour said, "a teacher who went home and truly thought, ‘how can I make this lesson plan educational as well as interesting.’"
Newton High School’s 2010 STAR student is Melissa Wilson. Wilson plans to attend the University of Georgia and study either genetics or pharmacology. Science teacher Lisa Oswald was her selection for STAR teacher.
"She’s one of the nicest teachers — always smiling and diligently keeping up with her work," Wilson said.
Superintendent Steven Whatley attended Thursday’s luncheon and congratulated the students and teachers.
"We’re proud of what our students have done and wish them the very best," he said, "and we are very grateful to our teachers also."
Whatley thanked the members of Kiwanis as well for being a valuable community partner of the school system.
Each STAR student will receive a $1,200 scholarship from the Covington Kiwanis Club. The honor also makes them eligible to apply for the R.O. Arnold Scholarship. System STAR students compete for region honors within one of the 12 STAR regions. Region winners and their STAR teachers compete in Atlanta for state scholarships and awards. State STAR winners are selected by judges in the education and business community. Judges conduct and interview and consider scholarship, leadership, initiative, academic ability, extracurricular activities, personal philosophy and objectives, citizenship, opinions and attitudes. The state STAR student and teacher are announced in April at a banquet in Atlanta.