“The reason [the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program started] was to make sure students who excelled academically were recognized as much or at least some as compared to the athletes,” said Lee Raudonis, state coordinator of the STAR program, which is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation, the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
To be named a STAR student, seniors must have the highest SAT score in their school taken on one test date through November prior to graduation. Students’ SAT scores must be equal to or higher than the national average, and seniors must also be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students in their class based on grade point average.
“What also makes this program unique is that it recognizes teachers as well as students,” Raudonis said. “The student chooses a teacher that he or she believes has had the greatest influence on his or her academic career.”
Since 1958, the STAR program has recognized more than 24,000 students and teachers in Georgia. In February and March, this year’s honorees across the state will be acknowledged in their communities by local businesses and civic organizations.
“I think STAR students appreciate the fact that businesses and community leaders notice and value their intellectual endeavors and that as students they can place the spotlight on the professional educator who influenced their lives in such a positive way,” PAGE Foundation President John Varner said in a press release.
Local STAR students will go on to compete on the school-system level and then the regional level. In April, the PAGE Foundation will host a recognition banquet in Atlanta at the Crown Plaza Ravinia. Raudonis said the regional winners are then interviewed to determine the state STAR student and runner-up.
“Of course, the STAR teacher is recognized along with the STAR student all the way up the ladder,” he said.
The 2014 STAR students and teachers from Alpharetta, Roswell and Milton schools are as followed:
Alpharetta High School:
STAR student: Anastasia “Audy” Mulia
STAR teacher: Thomas Wellnitz
Blessed Trinity Catholic High School:
STAR students: Tom Boyle and Ameet Kallarackal
STAR teachers: Margaret Ward and Daryl Moses
Cambridge High School:
STAR student: Ivan Liu
STAR teacher: Andy Schlueter
Centennial High School:
STAR student: Dorothy Cannella
STAR teacher: Bradley Davis
Fellowship Christian High School:
STAR student: Roger Rickman
STAR teacher: Bethany Topham
Mill Springs Academy:
STAR students: Adam Robinson and John Chisholm
STAR teachers: Vaidehi Rallapalli and Keith Muma
Milton High School:
STAR students: Lindsay Burr and Brendan Kemple
STAR teachers: Randy Fair and Karol Higgins
Mount Pisgah Christian School:
STAR student: Issac Hram
STAR teacher: Meredith Morris
Roswell High School:
STAR student: Anand Srinivasan
STAR teacher: Laura Light
St. Francis High School:
STAR student: Rachel Lee
STAR teacher: Amy Swingle