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Clayton’s STARs shine brightly today

County’s highest-achieving students to be recognized

— Nine Clayton County student rock stars will venture down different paths in life, but today they will share something in common.

The students will be recognized by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce and Clayton County Rotary Club as the county’s 2013 “STAR Students.” The students, along with their “STAR Teachers,” will be feted during a luncheon at Clayton State University’s Continuing Education Building, on the college’s main campus in Morrow.

“STAR” stands for Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition. It is a state-wide program organized by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators in partnership with local chambers of commerce. The program, now in its 55th year, is designed to recognize high-performing students.

The award-winning students are high school seniors who scored the highest among their classmates on the SAT test. They are also required to be among either the top 10 students in their graduating class, or at least the top 10 percent of students.

Charles R. Drew, Forest Park, Jonesboro, Lovejoy, Morrow, Mount Zion, Mundy’s Mill, North Clayton and Riverdale high schools are each represented by a STAR Student, according to Clayton County Chamber of Commerce President Yulonda Beauford.

This is the first year in which Drew High is eligible to have a STAR Student.

Each school’s STAR Student chooses a teacher who has made a lasting impact on his or her life. The educators are then recognized as STAR Teachers.

The pupil with the highest SAT score will be the county’s overall STAR Student, but his or her identity is kept a closely guarded secret until the end of the recognition luncheon.

County-wide STAR Students go on to compete for regional honors, and region winners progress to compete for state-wide honors. Clayton County is in Region 3B with Henry, Butts, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette, Lamar, Pike, Rockdale and Spalding counties.

This year's STAR Students and STAR Teachers are:

Chelesa Fearce

Charles R. Drew High School

STAR teacher: Vijay Oomen

GPA: 4.4

School involvement: Marching band, swim team, tutors students in several academic areas and dual-enrollment student at Clayton State University

College to attend: Spelman College for undergraduate studies and aiming to get accepted to either Cornell University or Johns Hopkins University for medical school

Intended college major: Chemistry and philosophy double major

Career goal: To become a radiation oncologist

Justin Vo

Forest Park High School

STAR teacher: Israel Rowe

GPA: 4.246

School involvement: Junior Council, Chess Club, Math Club, French Club and dual enrollment student at Clayton State University

College to attend: Either Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, Vassar College and Oberlin College

Intended college major: Physics

Career goal: To become a scientific researcher “with the desire to validate string theory”

Khoa Ngo

Jonesboro High School

STAR teacher: Kent Pate

GPA: 3.875

School involvement: Jonesboro Technology Student Association member at, dual-enrollment student at Clayton State University, member of Clayton State’s Vietnamese Student Association and photographer for the university’s newspaper The Bent Tree

College to attend: Georgia Institute of Technology

Intended college major: Mechanical engineering

Career Goal: Pursue a job in the “intelligent robotics and environmentally friendly design” field

Rebekah Holtzclaw

Lovejoy High School

STAR teacher: Sharon McMeans-Lukiri

GPA: 4.3

School involvement: Students Against Destructive Decisions secretary and Beta Club

College to attend: Either Sarah Lawrence College or the University of Georgia

Intended college major: Either French, archeology or creative writing

Career Goal: To become a journalist

Lindsey Perry

Morrow High School

STAR teacher: Ginia McMillan

GPA: 4.42

School involvement: Beta Club, National Honor Society, dual-enrollment student at Clayton State University

College to attend: Either Agnes Scott College or Georgia Institute of Technology

Intended college major: Either English literature or business administration

Career Goal: Possibly a marketing manager

Bryce Wilborn

Mt. Zion High School

STAR teacher: Shekema Silveri

GPA: 4.103

School involvement: Math team, Clayton County Performing Arts Center technical crew, chamber orchestra and pit orchestra

College to attend: Either Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Boston University, Columbia University or Mercer University

Intended major in college: English

Career goal: Become a “prolific writer”

Christana Fagbile

Mundy’s Mill High School

STAR teacher: J. David Dearin

GPA: 4.2

School involvement: Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) president, Beta Club secretary, Omega Mentoring Program, National Honor Society and DECA member.

College to attend: Georgia Institute of Technology

Intended college major: Business administration/management

Career Goal: Become a corporate lawyer

Jakeyah Gadson

North Clayton High School

STAR teacher: Vicente Castaneda

GPA: 3.89

School involvement: Cheerleader, tennis player, Green Team, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Ambassadors International, Students against Destructive Decisions and Mentoring Program.

College to attend: Either Baylor University, Clemson University or the University of Georgia

Intended college major: Economics (with a minor in English)

Career Goal: To become a corporate lawyer and a Fortune 500 speech writer

Nahom Ogbazghi

Riverdale High School

STAR teacher: Sean Antonetti

GPA: 3.97

School involvement: Soccer team, Cross Country team, Technology Student Association secretary, Students Against Destructive Decisions vice-president, National Honor Society vice-president, Yearbook section co-editor.

College to attend: Emory University’s dual-enrollment program with the Georgia Institute of Technology for undergraduate studies and aiming to attend Cornell University for graduate studies

Intended college major: Computer Engineering and Business Management double major

Career Goal: Design “life-changing technology” for either Apple or Motorola