MARIETTA — The county’s top performing high school students were honored this week at the 51st annual STAR student and teacher banquet, sponsored by Kiwanis Club Metro-Marietta.

The banquet celebrated 28 of the county’s students with the highest SAT scores and grade point average among private, public and charter schools in Cobb. Of the 28, five were chosen as the STAR student winners — three of whom are from Walton High School. 

U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, presented awards to the five winners, who will go on to compete in the regional event next month against students from schools across north metro Atlanta.

“These students represent the best of the best among their peers from public, private and charter schools,” Handel said. “They join a very elite group of outstanding students from across the entire state of Georgia.”

Each student invited a teacher that most influenced their academic success. A few teachers — including Laura Speer, mathematics teacher at Walton High School, Alan Fransworth, world language teacher at Walton High School, and Randy Fields, world language teacher at the Walker School — are no strangers to the banquet and have been chosen by students at past banquets.

“Mr. Fields has been here seven times,” said William Hoitink, president of Kiwanis Club Metro-Marietta.

Walker School student Zoey Brown, one of the five winners, plans to pursue a career in international relations and law and is looking forward to hearing back from several schools where she has applied. 

She chose Fields as the teacher who has guided her educational success the most.

“(Fields) taught me how to see the world through a more discerning lens, how to step into roles of leadership and embrace and laugh at my mistakes,” Brown said.

Walton High School’s Robert Morgan, another STAR student winner, is undecided on what college to attend, but plans to major in biology. He says Farnsworth has been the greatest influence in his academic career.

Grace Zhou, a Walton High School student and one of five winners of the evening, intends on studying English and communication in college and possibly computer science. She recognizes Speer in not only contributing to her education, but being a genuine person. 

“She made math creative,” Shou said. “Beyond that, she’s an incredibly kind and caring person.”

Furthermore, STAR student winner Daniel Hudadoff, who attends Walton High School, also chose Speer as his STAR teacher. He will be attending Georgia Tech with plans to major in electrical engineering.

“I’ll be following in the great example of my father, with, no doubt, motivation from my mom,” Hudadoff said.

Kennesaw Mountain High School’s Mary Katherine Gale, another winner of the evening, plans on attending Georgia Tech, but is waiting to hear back from other places, including Johns Hopkins University.  

She chose Cheryl Cannon, AP statistics and honors algebra teacher at Kennesaw Mountain High School, as her STAR teacher.

“I’ve always been struck by how Mrs. Cannon not only cares for her students’ academic progress, but she also makes a point of taking care of students’ personal lives,” Gale said.

The STAR program was launched in 1958 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and was adopted by the Metro Marietta Kiwanis in 1966.

MARIETTA — The county’s top performing high school students were honored this week at the 51st annual STAR student and teacher banquet, sponsored by Kiwanis Club Metro-Marietta.

The banquet celebrated 28 of the county’s students with the highest SAT scores and grade point average among private, public and charter schools in Cobb. Of the 28, five were chosen as the STAR student winners — three of whom are from Walton High School.

U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, presented awards to the five winners, who will go on to compete in the regional event next month against students from schools across north metro Atlanta.

“These students represent the best of the best among their peers from public, private and charter schools,” Handel said. “They join a very elite group of outstanding students from across the entire state of Georgia.”

Each student invited a teacher that most influenced their academic success. A few teachers — including Laura Speer, mathematics teacher at Walton High School, Alan Fransworth, world language teacher at Walton High School, and Randy Fields, world language teacher at the Walker School — are no strangers to the banquet and have been chosen by students at past banquets.

“Mr. Fields has been here seven times,” said William Hoitink, president of Kiwanis Club Metro-Marietta.

Walker School student Zoey Brown, one of the five winners, plans to pursue a career in international relations and law and is looking forward to hearing back from several schools where she has applied.

She chose Fields as the teacher who has guided her educational success the most.

“(Fields) taught me how to see the world through a more discerning lens, how to step into roles of leadership and embrace and laugh at my mistakes,” Brown said.

Walton High School’s Robert Morgan, another STAR student winner, is undecided on what college to attend, but plans to major in biology. He says Farnsworth has been the greatest influence in his academic career.

Grace Zhou, a Walton High School student and one of five winners of the evening, intends on studying English and communication in college and possibly computer science. She recognizes Speer in not only contributing to her education, but being a genuine person.

“She made math creative,” Shou said. “Beyond that, she’s an incredibly kind and caring person.”

Furthermore, STAR student winner Daniel Hudadoff, who attends Walton High School, also chose Speer as his STAR teacher. He will be attending Georgia Tech with plans to major in electrical engineering.

“I’ll be following in the great example of my father, with, no doubt, motivation from my mom,” Hudadoff said.

Kennesaw Mountain High School’s Mary Katherine Gale, another winner of the evening, plans on attending Georgia Tech, but is waiting to hear back from other places, including Johns Hopkins University.  

She chose Cheryl Cannon, AP statistics and honors algebra teacher at Kennesaw Mountain High School, as her STAR teacher.

“I’ve always been struck by how Mrs. Cannon not only cares for her students’ academic progress, but she also makes a point of taking care of students’ personal lives,” Gale said.

The STAR program was launched in 1958 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and was adopted by the Metro Marietta Kiwanis in 1966.

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