Rockdale County's STAR Students and Teachers are shown following an awards luncheon Tuesday sponsored by the Bank of North Georgia and the Conyers Rotary Club. Shown, seated left to right, are Heritage High STAR Student Megan Searles; Rockdale Magnet School STAR Student Heeyoon Kim; Salem High STAR Student Candice Biamby; and Rockdale High STAR Student Loren Stokes. Kim was named the overall STAR Student for the county. STAR Teachers who were selected by the students are, left to right, Julie Kimble from Heritage High, Dr. Chuck Garner from the Magnet School, Chris Mays from Rockdale Career Academy, and Scott Stanton from Rockdale High. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS -- Rockdale Magnet School senior Heeyoon Kim was named the county's STAR Student Thursday at an awards ceremony hosted by the Bank of North Georgia and the Conyers Rotary Club.
Kim, who has the highest SAT score in the county this year at 2,370 out of a possible 2,400, said she plans a career in the medical field. "My father passed away due to cancer when I was in sixth grade," she said. "I would like to use my passion for science to help those like him."
Kim, who is the daughter of Hea Young Kim, said she has applied to 11 colleges, but would like to attend either Harvard, MIT, Stanford or Georgia Tech.
She selected Dr. Chuck Garner, a mathematics teacher at the Magnet School, as her STAR Teacher.
In addition to math and science, Kim said she plays flute and piano, and "I attempt to sing like Beyonce," she joked.
Kim has also been honored as an Intel International Science and Engineering Fair finalist in 2012 and 2013. She placed fourth in the Varsity State Math Tournament in 2012 and has received numerous Science Olympiad medals.
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program is sponsored annually by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education. The STAR program, which has honored more than 23,500 students and the teachers who have influenced them, recognizes high school seniors who have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and are in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average. Students are recognized at the school, county, region and state levels.
Candice Biamby, Salem High School's STAR Student, credited a strong family support system with helping her achieve academic success.
"My family is wonderful and they support me in everything I do," she said.
Biamby, who scored 1,820 on the SAT, plans to attend the University of California at Berkley and major in computer science, a field that she loves.
"This will ensure me a place in an increasingly technical world, and I will actually enjoy my job, which is rare these days," she said.
Biamby, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., chose Chris Mays, her AP English teacher, as her STAR Teacher. Of Mays, she said he "constantly encourages me while also having confidence in me."
Biamby, the daughter of Corinne Biamby, was also the recipient of the Superintendent's Academic Award.
Megan Searles plans to explore the mysteries of the universe as a physicist and professor. The STAR Student for Heritage High School said she would like to conduct research as well as teach others.
Searles, who scored 2,100 on the SAT, plans to attend Brigham Young University where she will study physics and mathematics.
The daughter of Frank and Shayne Nolden, Searles selected literature teacher Julie Kimble as her STAR Teacher. Searles described Kimble as a fine teacher and friend. "She has a way of opening up the world of literature to her students," she said.
In addition to being the HHS STAR Student, Searles has received the Superintendent's Academic Award three times, the Outstanding Overall Academic Achievement Award three years, and the Wellesley College Book Award, among others.
Loren Stokes foresees a future in international missions and ministry. The Rockdale County High School STAR Student said she has a heritage of ministry in her family as the daughter and granddaughter of ministers.
"I have a passion for ministry and missions," she said, and would like to share the morals and principles she has with others. She said she has already been on four mission trips to Honduras.
Stokes, who scored 2,070 on the SAT, is interested in attending Duke University, Point University, American University or the University of Georgia to obtain a degree in English or international relations, possibly minoring in Spanish or biblical studies. With that training, Stokes said she would like to possibly teach English in other countries or work as a lobbyist for charitable organizations.
In addition to her studies at RCHS, Stokes said she has enjoyed participating in band as a drum major.
She selected Scott Stanton, the former band director at RCHS, as her STAR Teacher.
"He's a leader, he's a mentor and a role model for me," she said of Stanton.
Stokes is the daughter of Tracy and Kenny Stokes.
Earl Wise, community executive for the Bank of North Georgia, told attendees that the bank has sponsored the STAR awards luncheon for more than 10 years.
"The Bank of North Georgia is dedicated to the communities we serve, and we understand that it all begins with the education of our students," he said.