Three Newton County School System (NCSS) students were honored by the Kiwanis Club of Covington Tuesday for being 2016 STAR students. Alcovy High School’s Baylee Friedman, Newton High School’s Christopher Lightsey and Eastside High School’s Jackson Hall were all recognized for having the highest SAT scores at their respective schools.
Hall was named the system’s STAR student for having the highest SAT score with 2240 out of a possible 2400.
He has taken Advanced Placement (AP) World History, U.S. History, Language and Composition, Latin, European History, Calculus, Chemistry, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics and Literature. Hall also plays tennis, participates in the Junior Classical League, Academic Team and helped create an Ultimate Frisbee Club while at Eastside.
Hall, the son of Shelly and Hunter Hall, will attend Georgia Tech, where he plans on majoring in Industrial Engineering with a minor in education. Jackson Hall is looking to become an Industrial Engineer or math teacher.
Hall chose his math teacher, Michael Poor as his STAR Teacher.
“He has pretty much explained math the best I’ve ever come across,” Hall said of Poor. “Some teachers — maybe more so in middle school — when you press them on the whys behind formulas, they don’t know what they are talking about, but he can immediately tell you where it comes from. He knows enough math to where the stuff he’s teaching me is basic, so if I want to go any further into what he’s talking about, he always knows the answer to everything.”
Poor said part of the reason he knows so much of the whys behind the formulas is because he know Hall would ask him the questions, making him better at his job.
“Mathematically he is superior to just about any one I have ever taught,” Poor said. “I’m a better teacher because of him. He’s passionate about learning. It’s not about the grades with Jackson.”
Each student chose the teacher they felt help prepare and motivate them the most as their STAR teachers.
For Alcovy’s Friedman, her teacher of choice was Edward Kim.
Kim taught Friedman Journalism and AP Language. The latter was “the most rigorous class” she has ever taken.
“I feel like, more than any other teacher, he has prepared me for college.” Friedman said. “I know college is going to be hard, but I feel like I’ve really gotten a taste of that in his class.”
Friedman, who scored 2030 on her SAT, has participated in Gifted Girls and the Reading Bowl, worked on the school newspaper, served as vice president of the Naitonal Honor Society and secretary of the Key Club. She has taken several AP courses, including World History, Language Composition, Government, U.S. History, Calculus, Biology, European History, Macroeconomics, Literature and Latin.
Friedman, the daughter of Laurie and James Friedman, has been accepted at Georgia Tech and plans on majoring in Internal Affairs with a minor in Russian. She hopes to attend law school at Georgetown and become an international human rights lawyer.
“I’m honored,” Friedman said of earning STAR Student status. “School has always been the most important thing to me. To see the hard work payoff is gratifying.”
Newton’s 2016 STAR Student, the son of Jim and Renee Lightsey, has been accepted to the University of Georgia, where he plans on majoring in computer engineering. Lightsey, who scored 2040 on his SAT, has taken AP World History and AP U.S. History while at Newton, as well as numerous Quest classes. He has also taken enough dual enrollment classes that he will have earned 40 hours of college credit when he graduates from Newton in May.
Lightsey was a member of Newton High School’s Marine Corps Junior ROTC program for three years, serving as rifle team captain his junior year.
He chose ROTC instructor Chief Warrant Officer Rawley Colemon as his STAR Teacher.
“He knows me better than any teacher I’ve ever had and I learned a lot from him in ROTC,” Lightsey said. “He’s a great instructor and eh has had the most impact on my character and my growth in ROTC.”
Colemon taught Lightsey for three straight years, before he elected not to participate in ROTC his senior year.
“It’s an honor,” said Lightsey after being named a STAR Student. “It’s been a lot of hard work.”
The Kiwanis Club has sponsored the STAR Student program for more than 50 years. In order to qualify for STAR Student status, the student must achieve top SAT scores and be in the top 10 percent or among the top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
Each student, teacher and their families received a certificate during the Kiwanis Club of Covington’s annual meeting and luncheon at the First United Methodist Church of Covington.
“The Kiwanis Club of Covington is thrilled to again sponsor this year’s STAR Students,” said Patsy Mitchell, President of the Kiwanis Club of Covington. “These students are exemplary for a number of reasons and we celebrate them all. We are proud of each of them. And we thank them – they excited us about the future because it is bright with these students.”