Walton High seniors Jake Albert and Lisa Wang and The Walker School’s Won Oh were chosen the top STAR students. The three students and their STAR teachers were recognized, along with 23 other students and their most inspirational teachers, during the banquet, which was organized by the Metro Marietta Kiwanis Club.
After each STAR student was introduced to the nearly 190 people in attendance, they took time to say where they were attending school and why they chose their STAR teacher.
Albert, who chose Walton history teacher Andrew Adams, said he has not decided where to attend college but that he received a letter of acceptance from Yale University in December.
He said he chose Adams as one of his favorite teachers because he had never before had a teacher who brought so much energy to the subject they teach.
“More than anything else, he really got across to everybody that the people who we learn about in history are people just like us,” he said. “(Adams) got us all interested in history no matter how reluctant some of us were.”
Wang, a Walton High student who said she plans to attend Harvard College in fall, said she chose Tina Link because Link gave her the knowledge she will need to pursue a career in scientific research.
“When I attend school, I’ll be able to have the knowledge that I really want to go into scientific research mainly because of my teacher, Ms. Link, who has been such an inspiring teacher,” she said. “In her class I was never scolded for asking a question beyond the scope of the course. I was actually encouraged to.”
Walker’s Oh also said his STAR teacher, statistics instructor John Crowers, pointed him down his career path.
“He did not merely assign problem sets. He did not merely put formulas on the board to memorize. What he actually did was give me the passion and courage to explore the world of mathematics,” he said. “Through passion and inspirational instruction, he led me to decide that I’d major in mathematics and he inspired me to become a professor in mathematics.”
This was the fourth time that Crowers had been selected as STAR teacher.
Oh also said he is undecided on what college he will attend after graduation, but that he is looking at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvia.
Killian, the night’s guest speaker, delivered a message to the educators, parents and students at the reception.
To the teachers, he told them that their actions were of faith, that they were the sowers of wisdom and that their accomplishments were sitting in the room with them last night.
For the parents, he jokingly encouraged them to drop their children off at college and run away as quickly as they can, but then on a serious noted added that “a ship is safe in the harbor, but ships are made for the open sea.”
And for the 26 students, Killian told them that they possess amazing talents and that they have all discovered the art of the mind and told them to let their parents enjoy the pride of their accomplishments.
Cobb EMC, The Maude Vaughn Foundation and the Metro Marietta Kiwanis Club sponsored the banquet. The three students will compete to be named the regional winner in March and the state winner in April.
The STAR program was created in 1958 to honor academic excellence. School counselors nominate students, who must have the highest scores in one sitting on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent of their class. Students are then asked to select a teacher who helped guide and inspire them throughout their school career.