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UNG hosts regional STAR student gala
Annual banquet recognizes academic achievement
Andrew Haygood of Pickens High School and Rachel Todd of Union County High School were named the Region 2 STAR students at the annual regional banquet Tuesday at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. - photo by Kristen Oliver

Some of the region’s finest and highest-achieving students are headed to bright futures at some of the country’s top colleges.

These students were honored Tuesday at the annual Region 2 Student Teacher Achievement Recognition banquet sponsored by the  Professional Association of Georgia Educators at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. At the banquet, Andrew Haygood from Pickens High School and Rachel Irene Todd from Union County High School were named the two regional STAR students.

“The quality of young people that we see and the quality of the parents and teachers also is a really pleasant experience,” said Ricky Clemmons, PAGE director of high school redesign initiative.

The STAR Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program was designed to recognize students for their academic achievements since its inception in 1958, according to Lee Raudonis, STAR PAGE state coordinator. Students are recognized for their SAT scores and grade-point average, and they choose a STAR teacher who has had an impact on them.

Todd’s STAR teacher was Tim Hunter, who praised Todd’s well-rounded excellence. He said Todd is planning to attend Princeton University to major in chemistry.

“Rachel, I’ve got to tell you, sweetheart, you’re the best I’ve ever seen and probably the best I ever will see,” Hunter said. “I thank you so much for this honor.”

Haygood’s STAR teacher was Michael Oubre, who could not be at the banquet, but Haygood thanked Oubre for spending his time dedicated to coaching band and instructing students.

“The impact he’s had on me isn’t even measurable in test scores,” said Haygood.

From Hall County, Chestatee High School STAR student David Lawson and his STAR teacher Charles Bennett were recognized, as well as Riverside Military Academy’s Cuong Quoc Nguyen and his STAR teacher, Brenda Barger.