(UPDATED AT 4:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY WITH BEN FRANKLIN, MARIST, ST. PIUS X AND NORTH ATLANTA'S STAR STUDENT BIOS AND WHITEFIELD'S UPDATED STUDENT BIOS AND THOSE SCHOOLS' PHOTOS.)
The Professional Association of Georgia Educators, in alliance with the Georgia Department of Education, was selected by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program.
To be nominated as a STAR student, high school seniors must have the highest score on one test date on 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 in grade point average.
The 55-year-old program has seen more than 23,500 Georgia STAR students. STAR students in turn choose an influential teacher to honor as the school’s STAR teacher that year.
Each high school’s STAR student competes for a system title. System winners then compete for region titles in the 12 STAR regions. Region winners and teachers are invited to Atlanta to compete for the state STAR scholarships and awards.
The program is sponsored by local civic organizations and businesses.
This year’s area STAR students area as follows — Atlanta Girls’ School: Kayla Foney, 18, daughter of Kim Foney, of Lawrenceville; Atlanta International School: Julia Henry, 17, daughter of Pamela and Dayton Henry, of Sandy Springs; Brandon Hall School: Baishen Huang, 19, son of Jianming Huang and Manjia Liao, of Shenzhen, China; Galloway School: Rebecca Knowlton, 17, daughter of Ron and Beth Knowlton, of Alpharetta and Mollie Wild, 18, daughter of Michael Wild and Julie Roth of Buckhead; Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School: David Creighton Aldridge, 18, son of Dana and David Aldridge, of Atlanta; Holy Spirit Preparatory School: Alex Perez, 17, son of Bibiana and Carlos Perez, of Marietta; Howard School: Calhoun Thrasher, 18, son of Talbot and Frances Thrasher of Atlanta; Lovett School: Alston White, 18, son of Mark and Diane White, of Buckhead; Mount Vernon Presbyterian School: Mac Muse, 17, son of Pride Forney, of Atlanta; North Atlanta High School: Kathryn Morris; North Springs Charter High School: Emily Kelly, 17, daughter of Thomas and Dr. Cynthia Kelly, of Sandy Springs; Pace Academy: Zach Steinfeld, 17, son of Shayna and Bruce Steinfeld, of Decatur; Riverwood International Charter School: Charly Jo Olson, 17, daughter of Julia and Bruce Olson, of Dunwoody; Weber School: Ben Stolovitz, 17, son of Judy and Gary Stolovitz, of Buckhead; Westminster Schools: Lilly Chin, 17, daughter of Lih-Shen and Lian Li Chin, of Decatur; Whitefield Academy: Emily DeMoss, daughter of Debbie and Paul DeMoss; and Caroline Langella, daughter of Mike and Jill Langella; Woodward Academy: Ronak Dave, 18, son of Dr. Mahendra and Meenaxi Dave, of Decatur.
STAR students, or Student Teacher Achievement Recognition students, are often well rounded, participating in extra-curricular and community activities. The following expounds upon these students’ excellent academic record.
Atlanta Girls’ School
STAR Student: Kayla Foney, 18, daughter of Kim Foney, of Lawrenceville.
STAR Teacher: Melissa Bobeck, science.
Kayla was recognized as a National Merit and National Achievement Semifinalist. She participates in archery and manages the softball and track and field teams. She leads school participation in Habitat for Humanity and enjoys reading in her spare time.
Atlanta International School
STAR Student: Julia Henry, 17, daughter of Pamela and Dayton Henry, of Sandy Springs.
STAR Teacher: Brandon Rogers, English and theory of knowledge.
Henry’s combined SAT score is 2320: 730 in critical reading, 790 in math and 800 in writing. She is involved in the school’s theatre program and played the lead role in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” her junior year. She is in the school’s honor choir, Model United Nations and volunteered as a camp counselor at the school’s summer language camps. She has been accepted to Yale University and the University of Georgia in the honors program and as a Foundation Fellowship finalist. She is undecided as of Feb. 5.
Ben Franklin Academy
STAR Student: Natasha Wilson-McNair, 18, daughter of Patricia Wilson and Charles McNair, both of Atlanta
STAR Teacher: Nugzar Davitashvili, physics
Wilson-McNair enjoys foreign languages and is conversant in French, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, German, Italian, Swedish and Finnish. She also loves to write. Her favorite subject is science. Wilson-McNair has narrowed her college choices down to Bard College, Goucher College, Middlebury College, Tufts University and Wesleyan University but has not picked one yet. She plans to major in international relations, post-Colonial history, and/or environmental studies.
STAR Students: Rebecca Knowlton, 17, daughter of Ron and Beth Knowlton, of Alpharetta, and Mollie Wild, 18, daughter of Michael Wild and Julie Roth, of Buckhead.
STAR Teachers: Stephen Cooper, math, and Maria Gonzalez, Spanish
Knowlton is a National Merit Semifinalist, plays the piano and the organ. She is in the choir and is a Sunday school volunteer at her church. Knowlton is also a member of the textile club and creative writing club. She is still undecided on where she will attend college.
Wild is also a National Merit Semifinalist. She plays volleyball. Wild is involved in the school’s student government, a member of the creative writing, textile and Spanish clubs and is involved in the school’s theatre program. She is still undecided as to where she will go to college.
Brandon Hall School
STAR Students: Baishen Huang, 19, son of Jianming Huang and Manjia Liao, of Shenzhen, China. Hosted by Mitchell and Gloria Yeaton, of Alpharetta.
STAR Teachers: Scott Chruszcz, science and math.
Huang received the highest score among all GISA classification students at the Georgia Southwestern State Math Competition and excels on the school’s math team. He is a member of the varsity cross country team. He aspires to attend either Massachusetts Institute of Technology or California Institute of Technology in the fall, majoring in either physics or material science and engineering.
Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School
STAR Student: David Creighton Aldridge, 18, son of Dana and David Aldridge, of Atlanta.
STAR Teacher: Clay Kelsh, Latin and mythology.
Aldridge won the Alice L. Malcolm Headmaster’s Award at the school last year. He is a member of the Integrity Council, Mu Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, the Cum Laude Society, Student Diversity Leadership Council and Student Council. In addition to academics, he runs varsity cross country and plays varsity basketball and varsity golf for the school. He has also worked with the Horizons Student Enrichment Program for children in low-income families and serves as an acolyte for All Saints Episcopal Church. He plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall and major in business.
Holy Spirit Preparatory School
STAR Student: Alex Perez, 17, son of Bibiana and Carlos Perez, of Marietta.
STAR Teacher: Mark Johnson, theology.
Perez began learning how to program applications for the iPhone at 13 through YouTube, where he now posts his own iPhone and programming tutorials. He is interested in majoring in computer science and wants to work for a technology company in California after college. He has been accepted to the University of Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, but is still waiting to hear from Stanford University, Cal Tech, Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania.
STAR Student: Calhoun Thrasher, 18, son of Talbot and Frances Thrasher of Atlanta.
STAR Teacher: Scott Goode, science.
Thrasher has a GPA of 3.64. He has been accepted to Southern Polytechnic State University and Mercer University. He recently worked with a seven-person start-up team at Verdeecho, a smart grid data analytics firm in Atlanta.
STAR Student: Alston White, 18, son of Mark and Diane White of Buckhead.
STAR Teacher: Susan Wingate, science.
White moved to Lovett before his junior year of high school from Dallas, Texas. He is a member of the school’s varsity football and lacrosse teams. White is also involved in the Model Arab League, which informs students about activities in the Arab world. White’s GPA is 98.629.
STAR Student: John Stathis, 18, son of Jim and Gaye Stathis of Brookhaven
STAR Teacher: Band Director Mark Craddock, who also teaches music theory
Stathis’ favorite subjects are calculus and psychology, and he is a member of the marching band, where he has been field commander this past year, and the academic team.
Stathis received the University of Pennsylvania Book Award and the Georgia Governor’s Award and was on the Dean’s List during his sophomore and junior years. He is a National Merit Finalist and a member of the Georgia All-Star Team for academic team, the Math Honor Society (Mu Alpha Theta), the Spanish Honor Society and the general National Honor Society.
Stathis will attend Duke University, where he plans to enter the biomedical engineering program at the Pratt School of Engineering.
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School
STAR Student: Mac Muse, 17, son of Pride Forney of Atlanta.
STAR Teacher: Tom Rounds, science.
Muse scored a 2090 on the SAT, with a perfect score in the critical reading section. He has a 3.89 GPA. His goal is to study engineering, and he has attended summer and engineering camps at Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In fifth grade, he was invited to present a science fair project at NASA headquarters in Maryland. He hopes to attend Emory University in the fall.
North Atlanta High School
STAR Student: Kathryn Morris, 18, daughter of Britt and Kathy Morris of Atlanta
STAR Teacher: Danielle Costarides, social studies.
Morris’ favorite subjects are history, science, economics, and she has a 100 average weighted and a 98 average unweighted. She is a dancer (ballet, modern and pointe), head officer of the school’s dance ensemble, a parliamentarian with the National Honor Society, an International Baccalaureate mentor and is in the Model United Nations.
Morris has won the Georgia Certificate of Merit, was Miss Dance on the school’s Homecoming Court, and is on the Principal’s List. She has been accepted to the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, and is waiting to hear back from colleges in the Northeast and North Carolina. Morris plans to major in college pre-medicine or economics.
North Springs Charter High School
STAR Student: Emily Kelly, 17, daughter of Thomas and Dr. Cynthia Kelly of Sandy Springs.
STAR Teacher: Eric Smith, history.
Kelly is the valedictorian of the senior class at North Springs and a National Merit Finalist. She is co-president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, plays varsity soccer and has been honored as an Athlete of the Month for varsity volleyball. She is also the president of Interact, a student ambassador, secretary of executive council and serves on the Youth Leadership Sandy Springs board.
STAR Student: Zach Steinfeld, 17, son of Shayna and Bruce Steinfeld of Decatur.
STAR Teacher: John Pearson, math and science.
Steinfeld is a national finalist for the Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel and was selected for the Governor’s Honors Program for French (state semifinalist) last summer. He is a member of the Cum Laude and National Honor Societies and a Sanford and Barbara Okin Honor Scholar. Last year, he received the Frank Smith Woodling Community Service Award and the Columbia University Book Award. He is also an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor and received a letter of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Program. He participated in the upper school chorus and Octet and Troubadours ensembles, performed in the school’s recent productions of “Curtains” and “West Side Story,” runs cross country, swims and dives and plays varsity baseball for the Pace Knights. He also founded Baking for Breast Cancer, which has raised more than $10,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, serves on Pace’s Student Advisory Board and is a peer tutor. He is also a member of the Model United Nations program and the Knights Capitol Club.
Riverwood International Charter School
STAR Student: Charly Jo Olson, 17, daughter of Julia and Bruce Olson of Dunwoody.
STAR Teacher: Arielle Pool, math.
Olson is a Furman Scholar, a National Merit Semifinalist and is a member of the Go Club, which focuses on an Asian strategy board game. Last year, she walked 30 miles and raised $2,700 for the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. She has been accepted to Georgia Tech and plans to study engineering and Japanese.
St. Pius X
STAR student: Stephen Landry, 18, son of Margaret and Keith Landry of Atlanta
STAR Teacher: Gene Brisbane, math
Landry’s favorite subject is chemistry, his GPA is 3.98 and his SAT score is 2320. His extracurricular activities include playing and coaching tennis, tutoring and volunteering. Landry is an AP Scholar with Honor and a National Merit Hispanic Scholar. He is also on the Principal’s Honor Roll, an award given to students with a 95 percent or higher average. Landry plans to attend the University of Georgia and major in chemistry or another science. After college, he hopes to go to medical school and become a doctor.
STAR Student: Ben Stolovitz, 17, son of Judy and Gary Stolovitz of Buckhead.
STAR Teacher: Sam Bradford, English.
Stolovitz is a National Merit Scholarship finalist, a member of the National Honors Society and an AP Scholar with Honor. He participates in the school’s drama and a capella program, plays piano and is involved in visual arts. He is on the mock trial and math teams, and runs cross country and track and field. He is unsure of where he wants to attend college.
STAR Student: Lilly Chin, 17, daughter of Lih-Shen and Lian Li Chin, of Decatur.
STAR Teacher: Chris Harrow, math.
Chin made a 2400, or perfect score, on her SAT. She is her class’s vice president and an orchestra officer at the school, captained the Robotics team — the WiredCats and is a videographer for the student TV station, WCAT. She has also been named a winner of the Aspirations in Computing Award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology Coalition for the past two years. Chin has tutored math at Westminster and Drew Charter School. She has been accepted to Emory, Georgia Tech, Caltech and MIT, but has not yet made her final decision.
STAR Students: Emily DeMoss, daughter of Debbie and Paul DeMoss, and Caroline Langella, daughter of Mike and Jill Langella
STAR Teachers: Jesse Breite and Rebecca Brown
DeMoss’ favorite subject is Spanish and she plans to major in psychology in college, with the goal of becoming a child psychologist. DeMoss has a 4.0 grade point average and is waiting to hear from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., Connecticut College in New London, Conn., and Davidson College in Davidson, N.C.
She received Whitefield’s Valentine Award for mentoring; the Timothy Award, which she got as a junior and was voted by her peers as a character example for others; the Furman Scholar, four Academic Excellence Awards for Spanish 3, honors English, English 9 and geometry; and the Teacher’s Award in honors Spanish and honors chemistry.
DeMoss is involved with the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, vacation Bible school at Church of the Apostles each summer and Backyard Bible Club at Boys and Girls Clubs around Atlanta with inner-city children.
Langella’s favorite subjects are art and English, and she plans to major in communications in college. She has a 4.0 grade point average and has been accepted to the University of Georgia. Langella has applied to the University of Southern California, UCLA, NYU, Boston University, and Pepperdine University and is awaiting response from each of those schools.
She is involved with varsity girls’ tennis, where she is a captain this year; the GirlTalk mentoring chapter at Whitefield; the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. She has been on the Headmaster’s list every semester at Whitefield.
STAR Student: Ronak Dave, 18, son of Dr. Mahendra and Meenaxi Dave of Decatur.
STAR Teacher: Chery Gibson, retired biology teacher.
Dave earned a combined score of 2320 on the SAT. A member of Woodward’s Independent Scientific Research cohort, he was selected as an Intel Scientific Search Semifinalist for his work, “Elevation Change Alters the Genome-Wide Levels of 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine in Blood.” Dave won the Gold Eagle Palm Award last year, along with the Superior Award at the Spanish FLAG Competition in the AP/Level 4 division. Dave is an Eagle Scout, coaches students taking the Dale Carnegie course and has volunteered at and chaired the My Sister’s House fall festival, which serves an average of 300 women and children each year. He did independent student research at Emory University and has served as president of the chess club for the past two years. He is also an assistant coach for the school’s debate team.
-News Editor Everett Catts contributed to this report.