A first-time occurrence happened this year at the annual Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program at the Rotary Club of Douglas County meeting held Monday at the Douglasville Conference Center.

There was a tie.

Two students, both representing Douglas County High School, were tied as the school system’s STAR students, and subsequently both took home the county’s top honors.

Seniors Emma Schroer and Salma Huque are both in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Douglas County High School.

Schroer, the daughter of Tim and Kim Schroer, selected her French teacher Whitney Dubrulle, as her STAR teacher.

Dubrulle described watching her student transform from “a shy, reflective person” to a “knowledgeable, reflective communicator with a gift of performance.” Schroer attended Governors Honors Program (GHP) last summer majoring in French. She said she wants to pursue international affairs and French in college.

Schroer said she wanted “to be like her teacher” and called her teacher’s “encouragement and the experience of knowing her as life-changing.”

Salma Huque, also took top honors as the school system’s STAR student. She is the daughter of Nahida and Ehteshamul Huque. Huque selected her economics teacher, Rebecca Jackson, as her STAR teacher.

Jackson said Huque has an “outstanding work ethic.”

“She is always helping in the classroom and understands economics in ways other students do not,” said Jackson.

Huque has been accepted and plans to attend Reed College, a small liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon. She said her parents, who are from Bangladesh, encouraged her to learn about other parts of the world.

This is the 10th consecutive year that Douglas County High School has produced the county’s overall winner.

Alexander High School’s STAR student is James Stanley, son of Lee and Alesia Stanley, and his STAR teacher is AP World History teacher David Jaye.

Chapel Hill High School’s STAR student is Emily Austin, daughter of Leslie and Jeff Austin. Her STAR teacher is AP English Language teacher Zac Cooper.

Charlotte Neumann is Lithia Springs High School’s STAR student, daughter of Ellie Neumann. She selected AP Physics teacher Mark Persails as her STAR teacher — the second time he has been named a STAR teacher.

Nathanael Martin was named Colonial Hills Christian School’s STAR student. The son of Elizabeth and Chris Martin, he named Bible studies teacher Chris Talton — a graduate of Colonial Hills — as his STAR teacher.

Kiara Bowen, daughter of Camille Marshall, was recognized as New Manchester High School’s STAR student. She named AP Language teacher Eric Mulkey as her STAR teacher.

Harvester Christian Academy’s STAR student is Jacob Townsend, son of Jen and Rodney Townsend. He chose Debra Adams, who teaches biology, as his STAR teacher.

Each student was given the opportunity to speak about their college choices and career plans.

Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Peggy Walker has had the honor of hosting the event for the Rotary Club for 23 consecutive years.

“Today we are here to celebrate the accomplishments of our best and brightest,” Walker said.

The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program honors Georgia's highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. Since its creation in 1958 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) Program has honored nearly 25,500 high school seniors who have in turn chosen their STAR Teachers to share in this recognition. Every accredited high school in Georgia is eligible to participate in this preeminent student/teacher academic recognition.

In the mid-1990s the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation was asked by the Georgia Chamber and the State Department of Education to assume responsibility for the oversight, administration and promotion of the statewide STAR program. PAGE's 90,000-plus members and the PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees are privileged to continue the tradition of recognizing Georgia's future leaders and honoring the professional educators who have nurtured these scholars.

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. Nominees' SAT scores must be equal to or higher than the latest available national average on the critical reading, math and writing sections. Each high school STAR Student is asked to name his or her STAR Teacher.

High school STAR Students compete for system titles; and system STAR Students in turn compete for region-wide honors in the 12 STAR Regions. Region winners and their STAR Teachers are invited to Atlanta to compete for the state STAR scholarships and awards.

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