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Locals shine as state STARs

LAWRENCEVILLE - Parkview senior Lucas Bermudez is the 2005 state Professional Association of Georgia Educators STAR Student.

He named his advanced placement physics teacher, Philip Heier, as his state PAGE STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) teacher.

Joseph Song, a senior at Brookwood, was named first runner-up at the state level and chose Dan Rawlins, his advanced placement biology teacher, as his STAR Teacher.

Bermudez and Song were among six Gwinnett students recognized as local and then regional STAR Students.

The state winner was announced Wednesday at the 2005 State PAGE STAR Banquet in Atlanta.

Twenty-eight STAR Student region winners were finalists in the culminating event of the STAR program, which began earlier this year with the naming of 466 STAR Students. These local STAR Students were selected from participating public and independent schools from across the state.

The STAR program is coordinated and sponsored by the PAGE Foundation. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education are co-sponsors.

Now in its 47th year, the program has honored more than 19,000 students and their teachers for academic excellence. This year, 19 of the finalists scored a perfect 1,600 (math/verbal combined) on a single administration of the SAT exam.

Bermudez plans to attend Yale University, where he will study literature and mechanical engineering. As this year's state PAGE STAR Student, he was honored with a $5,000 scholarship from BellSouth, presented by PAGE Foundation Chair and Senior Director for External Affairs for BellSouth Carolyn Lovett.

State STAR Teacher Heier received a $2,500 cash award from the Frances Wood Wilson Foundation, presented by its Executive Vice President Blitch Ann Bird.

Diane Ray, PAGE president, presented runner-up Song with a $1,000 scholarship from the PAGE Foundation. Bill Covington, key account manager for The Coca-Cola Co., also presented Song with The Coca-Cola Co. Scholarship of $1,000.

Mozelle Christian, the first director of the STAR program, presented Song's STAR Teacher Rawlins with the Mozelle Christian Award of $500.

The PAGE Foundation, the Coca-Cola Co. and AGL Resources sponsored the 2005 State STAR Banquet. The Coca-Cola Co. also sponsored the evening's reception and presented each of the 28 finalists with a $100 award.