The Newton County School System is pleased to announce the district's 2011 STAR Students-the students with the highest SAT scores in one sitting, and their STAR Teachers. The students and the teachers they selected as their STAR teachers were honored at the February 24 meeting of the Covington Kiwanis Club.
The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) sponsors the STAR program each year at the state level. According to PAGE guidelines, in order to be eligible for nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score in one sitting on the three?part SAT taken through the November test date of their senior year. They must also be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average. Each high school student is asked to select his or her STAR teacher. The student selected as the district's STAR student will compete for region honors in the 12 STAR Regions. For over 50 years, the Covington Kiwanis Club has been the local sponsor for Newton County's STAR students. Each of the high school's STAR Students will receive a $1,200 scholarship from the Kiwanis
Alcovy High School
Alcovy High School's STAR student is Heather Christine Steckenrider. She selected Alcovy High School teacher, Anita Anderson as her STAR Teacher. Heather scored an 1880 on her SAT. She has applied to and been accepted by the University of Georgia, where she hopes to major in either biology or genetics. After graduation from UGA she hopes to attend Duke Medical School and become an anesthesiologist.
"I've always been interested in the medical field but I'm not really a blood person, so I thought anesthesiology seemed like the best bet," said Steckenrider.
In addition to her studies, Steckenrider has been very active in extracurricular activities at Alcovy, to include Varsity Cheerleading, the Anchor Club, Student Council, and the Prom Committee. In addition to her high score on the SAT, she also scored a 31 on the ACT.
Steckenrider selected Anderson, her Advanced World History teacher in 10th grade, as her STAR Teacher.
"She has been a big help to me my entire academic career," said Steckenrider. "I've known her since I was 11 and we go to the same church. She has helped me with college essays and also when I was nominated for the Governor's Honors Program."
This marked the second time Anderson has been selected as a STAR Teacher.
Newton High School
Newton High School's STAR Student is Brian Carver Carpenter. He selected Diana Brown as his STAR Teacher.
Brian scored 1900 on his SAT. He has applied to and been accepted by the University of Georgia and Georgia
Southern. He is also waiting to hear from North Georgia. Brian admitted that he hasn't figured out what he wants
to major in at this time but does plan on starting his core classes and possibly taking some music and theology
classes. He is very active in his church, St. Pious X in Conyers, where he is a Youth Group Leader, the leader of
Music Ministry, and also volunteers for Vacation Bible School. He has taken several AP classes during his time at
Newton High School and said he feels they helped prepare him for the SAT.
"I have taken five AP classes at Newton," said Carpenter. "Last year I took AP Language and that was the most like a college class I have ever experienced. It really improved my work ethic and study skills and I carried that with me into the SAT."
Brian selected Diana Brown, his Calculus teacher, as his STAR Teacher.
"This is the second year I have had her as a math teacher," said Carpenter. "I've never been a great math student-that's where I've struggled the most but she found a way around that. She is the best teacher I have ever had."
This is Brown's first time being named a STAR Teacher.
Eastside High School
Eastside High School's STAR Student is Patrick Henry Ford. He selected Eric Adams as his STAR Teacher. With a score of 2120 out of 2400, Patrick is also Newton County School System's STAR Student, making Adams Newton County School System's STAR Teacher.
Patrick has already been accepted to UGA but he has his sights set on Harvard. He has applied to not only Harvard but also Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Emory University and Oxford at Emory. During his time at Eastside, Patrick has exhausted all of the Latin Classes at Eastside as well as all of the AP Classes with the exception of Art, and is now doing an independent study of Greek (meaning he is teaching himself to speak the language).
He is also studying German through the Georgia Virtual School. Patrick said he hopes to study the classics in college and possibly become a professor or go on to medical or law school.
"A professorship would be nice," said Ford. "Ideally with a degree in classics you can apply to medical or law school too, so I'm just not completely sure at this point."
During his time at Eastside, Ford has been involved in the Junior Classical League (JCL) where he served as the school's Vice President. He also hosted the state convention and served as the editor of the state JCL newspaper. He has participated in numerous Junior Classical League competitions on the school and state level and earned a scholarship at the state convention that paid for his trip to the JCL National Convention in North Dakota last summer. While there, Ford placed in the Top 10 in each of the academic exams he took and placed 28th overall in Academics at the Level five plus competition (those student taking five or more years of Latin). Ford also participated on the school's Academic Team and as treasurer of the student council in his junior year.
"Taking Latin and doing classics is like exercising your brain," said Ford. "Latin has helped me in everything and made me a better thinker."
Patrick selected Mr. Eric Adams, his Latin teacher as his STAR teacher. This marks the fifth time Adams has been selected as a STAR teacher by one of his students.
"He is definitely enthusiastic and into what he is doing," said Ford. I've had him for three and ½ years now and I've talked to him outside of school as well. He is a great influence on all of the kinds of ambitions I have in academics."
"These students exemplify the very best in academic achievement in our school system," said Gary Mathews, Superintendent for Newton County Schools. "Their accomplishment is certainly one for their peers to follow and should be a point of pride for the community at large. Likewise, the teachers selected by these students as their Star Teacher have made no small contribution to their success. As we know, outstanding teaching matters and these students made that clear in their comments today."