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‘Math whiz’ the county’s brightest STAR

He relates math to everything

Photo by Curt Yeomans
Morrow High School STAR Student Michael Hollyday (center) poses for pictures with his parents, Daniel and Katherine Hollyday, after he was announced as Clayton County's STAR Student.

Photo by Curt Yeomans Morrow High School STAR Student Michael Hollyday (center) poses for pictures with his parents, Daniel and Katherine Hollyday, after he was announced as Clayton County's STAR Student.

Through the eyes of Morrow High School senior, Michael Hollyday, just about everything in the world is viewed mathematically.

“I’ve always been interested in numbers,” he said. “I like to play with numbers. I’m actually able to see math everywhere. I can see how it relates to everything.”

Hollyday’s abilities in math, and other subjects, have earned him the title of Clayton County's overall STAR Student. The announcement was made, Wednesday, during a recognition luncheon hosted by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce, and the Clayton County Rotary Club.

The STAR Student and Teacher program is run by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and local county chambers, on behalf of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE).

The 17-year-old Hollyday is not shy about sharing his love for the world of mathematics. In fact, the teenager said his passion for math was discovered when he was 6 years old and attending a Cub Scout meeting with is father, Daniel.

“I like to think there’s a drop of DNA there,” said the senior Hollyday. Hollyday’s father, an engineer, added to his son’s early interest in math. While waiting for the Cub Scout meeting to start, Daniel Hollyday saw a dry-erase board in the room, and thought it would be a good idea to show his son a few math equations.

Michael seemed to catch on quickly, his father recalled. “I was like, wow,” he said. “He’s not hesitating.”

When asked if he thought his son is smarter then her was in math, he replied, “I’m a dunce compared to him.”

Morrow High Principal Pamela Pitts said Hollyday is the “go-to” guy for students needing help with math assignments. “He’s just a math whiz,” she said.

With this latest recognition, Hollyday and his STAR teacher choice, Morrow High’s math instructor, Holland Jones, are in the running to earn further honors at the Region 3B STAR Student and STAR Teacher ceremony on March 22, in Griffin, Ga., according to Yulonda Beauford, the president and CEO of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce.

Each STAR Student has their high school's highest SAT score, and is in the top 10 percent, or among the top 10 students, in his or her graduating class. The students pick one of their teachers, who has had a lasting impact on them, as their STAR Teacher. The county's overall STAR Student is the one with the highest SAT score among the school-level STAR Students.

Hollyday scored a 2060 on the SAT, which has a maximum score of 2400, and he has a 3.8 grade-point average. He said he scored a perfect score on the math portion of the test. He also achieved a perfect score on the math portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test, which won him a free laptop computer.

Hollyday’s parents believe their son has a bright future with his academic accomplishments. “I won’t be surprised if Michael makes some type of discovery that will change the world,” said his mother, Katherine.

“He has an awesome mathematical mind,” added his father, Daniel. “I think he’s scary smart.” The father said his son is even teaching him new things.

Hollyday’s star teacher, Holland Jones, was not in attendance at the luncheon Wednesday, due to an illness. But, Hollyday’s star counselor, Wiley Hardy, stood in for Jones. “He’s not like other teachers,” Hollyday said of Jones. “Unlike other classes, where I was just doing book work, he actually explains things to us,” said the teenager. “His door is always open for help, which I [take advantage of] a lot. Thank you, Mr. Jones –– too bad you couldn’t be here today.”

Counselor Hardy said: “I like to bring [Hollyday] in my office and throw a math problem at him. He gets to talking, and I have no idea what he’s saying, but it really sounds good. I’m really impressed.”

Hollyday said he has applied for admission to Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He will study computers while in college and hopes to pursue a career in video-game technology, he said.

In addition to Hollyday, other STAR Students recognized, Wednesday, included: Forest Park High School's Thanh Lam; Jonesboro High School's Attallah Ali; Mt. Zion High School’s Amanda Johnson; Lovejoy High School’s D’Andre Waller; Mundy's Mill High School's Jessica Ofor; North Clayton High School's Danica Manns, and Riverdale High School's Kalyn Wilson.

The STAR Teachers included: Forest Park High School's Andrea Conaway; Jonesboro High School's Jeff Cox; Morrow High School's Harold Jones; Mt. Zion High School's Prince Bowie; Mundy's Mill High School's Terry Garner; North Clayton High School's Regina Mitchell; Church Street Elementary School’s Delores Williams, and Lovejoy High School’s Zach Etheridge.