2020 STAR Students and STAR Teachers

NCSS & Kiwanis Club of Covington Announce the 2020 STAR Students and STAR Teachers
Posted on 02/20/2020
STAR Students and STAR TeachersNewton County School System and the Kiwanis Club of Covington are pleased to announce the 2020 STAR Students and STAR Teachers. In order to obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT. The SAT is a national college entrance exam some colleges and universities utilize to measure critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college. The SAT assesses how well students analyze and solve problems. It is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200 to 800, with the current version of the exam worth a total of 1600 points. In order to qualify for STAR Student, the student must also be in the top ten percent or top ten students of their class based on grade point average.

Newton County School System’s four high school STAR Students and STAR Teachers are:

ALCOVY HIGH SCHOOL—Miguel Ruiz-Sanchez and Austin Wells

Alcovy Star Students, STAR Teachers, and Principal

This year, Alcovy High School has not one but two STAR Students as there was a tie—two students—Miguel Ruiz-Sanchez and Austin Wells, each posted the same score on the SAT. As a result, there are also two STAR Teachers.
Miguel Ruiz-Sanchez is a senior at Alcovy High School and he is also a Dual Enrollment student at Georgia State Perimeter College. Miguel is one of Alcovy High School’s 2020 STAR Students after scoring a very impressive 1300 out of 1600 on the SAT. In addition to his studies, Miguel played soccer and is also a member of the National Honor Society. During his time at Alcovy, Miguel has taken numerous AP classes, including Human Geography, World History, Calculus, English Language, Environmental Science, Psychology, and U.S. History. Miguel plans to attend Mercer University and major in criminal justice with a possible minor in philosophy. His career goal is to become an attorney.

Miguel selected Mr. Brian Johnson as his STAR Teacher. Miguel was a student in Mr. Johnson’s AP Psychology class in eleventh grade. This is Mr. Johnson’s first time being selected as a STAR teacher.

When asked why he selected Mr. Johnson, Miguel stated, “Mr. Johnson was not just my teacher but also my soccer coach. He is always there to help you and he has a really good teaching structure. He’s just very helpful and I appreciated that.”

Austin Wells is a senior at Alcovy High School and he too scored a 1300 out of 1600 on the SAT. In addition to his studies, Austin participated in chorus, the Tri-M Club, and the National Honor Society. During his time at Alcovy, Austin has taken numerous AP Classes, including Human Geography, Biology, World History, Environmental Science, Calculus, Statistics, U.S. History, Macroeconomics, Literature, and English Language.

Austin plans to attend Georgia Tech. While he has not decided on a major yet, he is leaning towards computer engineering. After college he would like to work at Delta or Coca-Cola.

Austin selected Mrs. Amy Fraser as his STAR Teacher. Austin is a student in Mrs. Fraser’s AP literature class this year. This is Mrs. Fraser’s first time being selected as a STAR teacher. When asked why he selected Mrs. Fraser as his STAR Teacher, Austin stated, “She is very personal and works on building relationships with students. She’s very joyful and is always willing to help students when they need help.”

NEWTON HIGH SCHOOL—Kijana Knights

Newton High STAR Student, STAR Teachers, and Principals

Kijana is a senior at Newton High School and the NCCA STEM Institute. He is also Newton High School’s 2020 STAR Student, as he scored an impressive 1310 out of 1600 on the SAT. During his high school career, Kijana has participated in numerous extracurricular activities at both Newton High School and the STEM Institute, including Track, Cross Country, Junior ROTC, Beta Club, National Honor Society, NCCA Board of Directors, and STEM Student Council.

Kijana has taken several AP classes, including World History, English Language, U.S. History, Calculus, Biology, Statistics, Literature, and Macroeconomics. It is very difficult to get accepted to attend a united states military academy; Kijana was nominated to and accepted to attend not one but two. Both the United States Naval Academy and Army’s West Point offered him appointments. In the end, Kijana chose the Army so he will be heading to West Point after graduation. He would like to major in political science at West Point and then after a career as a military officer, Kijana would like to run for political office.

Kijana chose his AP U.S. History Teacher at the Career Academy, Ms. Heather Henderson, as his STAR Teacher. This is the second time Ms. Henderson has been selected as a STAR Teacher. When asked why he chose Ms. Henderson, Kijana stated, “Since freshman year, her class has always been interesting to me—the projects and debates were very interesting. She facilitated a great learning environment and she has just been a great mentor for me.”

EASTSIDE HIGH SCHOOL AND NEWTON COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM—Eathan Xu

Eastside STAR Student, STAR Teacher, and Principal

Eathan is a senior at Eastside High School and their 2020 STAR Student; he is also Newton County School System’s 2020 STAR Student, because he had the highest overall SAT score in the district. Eathan scored an outstanding 1530 out of 1600 on the SAT. In addition to his classroom studies, Eathan participated on the school math team, Quizbowl team, and the Junior Classical League Club. He also served as a math tutor and plays xylophone for the Covington Conyers Community Orchestra. During his time at Eastside, Eathan has taken numerous AP classes, including statistics, world history, computer science, calculus, English language, English literature, U.S. History, Latin, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. His goal is to attend Georgia Tech, where he’d like to major in astrophysics and become and astrophysicist.

Eathan chose his math teacher, Mr. David Hornbeck, as his STAR Teacher. This is Mr. Hornbeck’s second time being selected as a STAR teacher. When asked why he chose Mr. Hornbeck, Eathan said, “I had him during my sophomore and junior year and he really pushed me. He taught me and tutored me to focus on the SAT and realize it’s possible to get a high score on the test. He provided all the resources and the right mindset for me to do well.”

“These STAR students are indicative of the high-quality, high-caliber students we have in Newton County,” said Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of Newton County School System. “We commend Miguel, Austin, Kijana, and Eathan for staying the course and demonstrating what one can accomplish through hard work and discipline. In addition, we thank the parents, teachers, and leaders who have supported these students through the years.”

The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation. Since its inception, the STAR program has honored more than 27,500 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic success.

For more information, contact Ms. Sherri Davis, Director of Public Relations for Newton County Schools, at davis.sherri@newton.k12.ga.us or by phone at 770-784-2908.

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