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Star student Corey Matyas, teacher Hyuk Kim find science connection
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Corey Matyas and Hyuk Kim pose for a photo Tuesday afternoon in Kim's classroom at Lakeview Academy. Matyas and Kim were selected as the Gainesville STAR student and STAR teacher of the year. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Corey Matyas and Hyuk Kim — student and teacher  finished one another’s sentences as they talked about courses, tests and robotics Tuesday at Lakeview Academy.

Matyas was named the Gainesville STAR student, and he selected Kim as his STAR teacher.

STAR students and teachers were honored at a luncheon, sponsored by the Gainesville Kiwanis Club. Students competed in the Gainesville system, which also included private schools Lakeview and Riverside Military Academy for the purposes of the competition, as well as the Hall County system, which included North Georgia Christian School in addition to the public high schools.

Matyas will move on to District 2 competition. The winner of that will be announced March 15 at a banquet at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.

Both teacher and student have a “huge, huge interest” in “gaming,” Kim said. He emphasized that he uses games in his classes to add interest and teach students critical thinking skills.

Matyas, a senior at Lakeview, is a member of the school’s state champion Academic Bowl team and is a founding member of the school’s robotics team.

The robotics team has been in the region finals all four years, he noted.

Kim is the adviser for both Academic Bowl and robotics. Matyas also has been in Kim’s Advanced Placement physics and chemistry classes.

Kim said Matyas is one of only two kids who has made a 100 on his quantum mechanics test  that is in 32 years of teaching, he added.

Matyas plans to attend Louisiana State University, where he intends to major in electrical engineering. He has been offered a full scholarship at LSU, he said.

He has been computer programming since he was 7. “I taught myself” to create video games, he said.

Matyas parlayed his computer skills into a summer job  and he will start his fourth year this summer at Automation Direct. He works on the company’s website design, he said.

In his four years, he said his title has changed from “intern” to “summer temporary” with “commensurate pay increases.”

The electrical engineering could lead to avionics  another interest of Matyas’. He said he visited the Boeing plant in Seattle and he has a Boeing T-shirt  “I wear the thing all the time.”

He also hopes to get a pilot’s license this summer  admitting that saving the money is a challenge. He said he has started  barely  the work.

“I have about four hours. You need like 40,” he said.

Matyas’ mother, Cindy, lives in Cleveland and his father, Tom, lives in Dawsonville.

Speaking about Matyas at the luncheon, Kim said, “You teach long enough, you eventually meet the student you hope to be.”

Explore the map below to see winners for each local school.

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