The three students spoke during the monthly membership luncheon on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the Walker County Civic Center.
The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) sponsors the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, which is now in its 54th year.
Students are selected from the high school’s top 10 percent of students who have SAT scores higher than the national average.
Brenda Noblitt introduced the three students. She is the chairwoman for the Chamber’s education committee and a retired teacher.
· Gordon Lee Memorial High School senior Courtney Grace Meadows spoke first, as the Chickamauga school system’s representative.
“There are so many really intelligent students at my school, so this was a really big honor to be named STAR student,” Meadows said.
She plans to earn a degree in psychology, but has not decided where she will attend college next year, leaning toward Berry College or Oglethorpe University.
Meadows chose Heather Solmon as her STAR teacher after attending honors chemistry class as a sophomore and AP biology during this school year.
Solmon was humbled by the recognition, which was also given to her by previous students in 2008 and 2009.
She has been a teacher for 16 years, with 10 of those years at Gordon Lee Memorial High School.
“Courtney is a fabulous student” Solmon said. “She will succeed at anything she does. She is intrinsically motivated and inquisitive.”
· Marissa Nicole Fulton from LaFayette High School spoke second at the luncheon.
Fulton made it a point to thank all of her teachers, including those at LaFayette Middle School and Naomi Elementary.
“Without all of them this (recognition) would not have been possible,” Fulton said.
“I did not expect this. I am not a very good standardized test-taker so when I heard the news I was quite astonished,” Fulton said. She has been a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Beta Club and the National Honors Society.
She selected her history teacher Joel Warren for serving as an inspiration as she plans to follow in his footsteps.
Fulton plans to attend Berry College next year, majoring in history with a minor in secondary education.
Warren teaches AP world history, which Fulton attended during her sophomore year.
“Seeing his character and values coming through in his teaching really inspired me,” Fulton said.
“I just can’t wait to see what she will accomplish. I have no doubt she will be an outstanding teacher someday,” Warren said. “If I get the chance to work with her, that would be great too. She would be great to have on our staff.”
Warren has taught at LaFayette High School for 12 years.
· Aubrianna Kate Pennington, a senior at Ridgeland High School, thought she had missed the SAT testing deadline for the distinction as STAR student.
She had in fact made the deadline and was excitedly surprised to learn that she was selected as the STAR student prior to the Christmas holiday break from classes.
She also spoke about her appreciation of being selected into the Governor’s Honors program.
Pennington spent six weeks of her summer as communicative arts major in the program.
She is the editor of Ridgeland’s online newspaper called “The Echo” and hopes to attend William and Mary College next fall in Williamsburg, Va.
After the students gave their speeches, it was announced that Pennington would be the Walker County school system’s representative for the regional level competition.
She selected English teacher Darren Krutcher as her STAR teacher. Pennington attend his classes and played soccer during her sophomore year while Krutcher was the coach.
“He understands that high school can be overwhelming. He is one of the teachers that you can come to at any time,” Pennington said.
“She is so bright and so driven,” Krutcher said. “She is a very impressive well-rounded student.”
Krutcher teaches in the school’s new Honors Academy, including AP literature, AP human geography, and honors English II.