Seven top high school students and their selected teachers were honored at the annual Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program during the Rotary Club of Douglas County meeting held Monday at the Douglasville Conference Center.

“Today we are here to celebrate the accomplishments of our best and brightest,” Juvenile Court Judge Peggy Walker told the audience of Rotary Club members, parents, educators and the honored STAR student guests.

Senior Devon Boatright, an International Baccalaureate (IB) student at Douglas County High School, was named the overall county 2017-2018 STAR Student.

Boatright selected as her STAR teacher Grant Fossum. He taught her in math for both freshman and sophomore years.

She said she chose Dr. Fossum because he has been her biggest cheerleader since she had him freshman and sophomore years because he always pushes her to work harder and do more.

Fossum said that Boatright “never failed to impress.” The teacher said a wise person once told him that as a teacher to “be prepared to have students smarter than you are.” He said that person was Devon Boatright.

“She never stopped trying to be her best,” said Fossum. “As amazing as she is, she doesn’t do it for the accolades.”

Her STAR teacher went on to say that Boatright “has the ability to be the next Elon Musk.”

He said, “She gives 100 percent in everything she does. She’s confident, but has never been arrogant.”

Boatright has received early acceptance from Georgia Tech, but is waiting to hear from MIT in March before making her college choice to study chemical engineering. Her long-term goal is to work for Tesla.

She went to Governors Honors Program for mathematics last summer at Berry College.

She plays on the tennis team at Douglas County High School and founded a student organization at DCHS called Women In Science and Engineering (WISE). Boatright also tutors other students in the IB program

Alexander High School’s STAR student is Elizabeth Blevins. Her STAR teacher was her social studies teacher David Jaye.

Chapel Hill High School’s STAR student is Kirstin Pirkle. Her STAR teacher is Reed Durbin, who was her social studies teacher.

Harvester Christian Academy’s STAR student is Audrey Leigh Myers. Her STAR teacher is Jeanne McCumpsey.

Heirway Christian Academy’s STAR student Ashleigh Nicole Brown. Her STAR teacher is Mike Matteson.

New Manchester High School’s STAR student is Matthew Eric Jackson. His STAR teacher is Terry O’Malley, who taught AP English Literature teacher.

Lithia Springs High School’s STAR student is Naomi Douglas. Her STAR teacher is Payton Millinor, who taught her freshman English.

New Manchester High School’s STAR student is Matthew Eric Jackson. His STAR teacher is Terry O’Malley.

This marked Walker’s 25th consecutive year presiding over the Rotary Club’s longtime commitment to sponsoring the program.

“Rotary's motto is service above self,” said Walker. “We as leaders of Douglas County challenge these scholars to return home to apply their education and career skills to serve our community to make it a better place for children, families and businesses.”

She said to the STAR students, “You hold the future in your hands.”

The STAR program honors Georgia’s highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. The program was created in 1958 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and in the mid-1990s asked the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) to administer the program.

To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on any single test date of the three-part SAT taken through the November test date of their senior year and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.

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