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Gainesville’s STAR student credits teacher for shaping him
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Lakeview Academy student Garv Gaur is the Gainesville system winner in the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program, presented Jan. 25 at the Kiwanis Club in Gainesville. He chose Mikhail Lovell as his STAR teacher. He won the Region 2 competition. - photo by Shannon Casas

Garv Gaur, a senior at Lakeview Academy, may have been named the STAR student in Gainesville, but he is quick to share the spotlight with his favorite teacher. 

Gaur was named the Gainesville district winner for the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition Wednesday afternoon at the First Baptist Church in Gainesville. To qualify, high school seniors must have the highest SAT score on a single test date and be in the top 10% or top 10 students of their class based on grade-point average. The STAR student then selects a teacher they feel had a great influence on them.

Gaur selected Mikhail Lovell for the award. Gaur will represent his school system at the regional level for the chance to win state. 

“I think the most meaningful part of this whole thing for me is being able to recognize Mr. Lovell,” he said. “SAT scores are good and all, but I think it’s really about the educator behind the person, because he shaped my life in so many ways.” 

He has committed to Brown University and hopes to pursue economics and computer science, with a focus on income inequality in underdeveloped communities. 

“I just want everyone … to live a life of similar opportunity to me, because I know I’ve had a great life,” he said. 

With a greater aptitude for writing and math, he said his biggest challenge was learning how to program. 

“I tried to learn how to program this Apple app because I watched a TED talk, and it was just the hardest thing,” he said. “I would try to program for like a couple hours and usually close my computer in tears.” 

After sitting in Lovell’s office and learning from him, it finally “clicked,” he said. “Those days I spent with him in his office just programming, it made me realize how much I like it, and it made me learn it very well.”

His parents, both doctors, immigrated from India to New York and later moved to Georgia, where he was born. 

“It’s the immigrant story where they come to America with just a little bit of money in their pockets and a suitcase or two,” he said. “Overcoming that kind of adversity I think is something that has found its way into my life for sure.” 

In his free time, he plays piano, goes running and works with the Boys & Girls Clubs. His favorite food is a Vietnamese bun.

Schools in Hall County also named STAR winners. Schoolwide winners in Gainesville also included the following:

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Gainesville High School student Samuel Holt was named STAR student for his school. He selected Chandra Karnati as his STAR teacher. The two were honored during a program Jan. 25, 2022, put on by the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville.
Riverside Military Academy student Thanh Nguyen was named STAR student for his school. He selected Marc Paglia as his STAR teacher. The two were honored during a program Jan. 25, 2022, put on by the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville.