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Honors go to brightest in schools

DULUTH - Taking the SAT - a nerve-wracking experience for many high school students - was no problem for the 22 seniors honored Friday at this year's STAR banquet. They all got the highest scores at their respective schools, some of them without even studying for it.

All the students were also in the top 10 percent of their class. They each chose a teacher to recognize as having a strong influence on their successful academic careers.

The county will be sending the two students with the best scores to the regional STAR competition. Buford High School senior Will Hunter will represent Buford City Schools, along with his teacher Tim Harris. Amanda Brouillette of Parkview High School, who got a perfect score, will represent Gwinnett County Public Schools. She chose Doug Wagner as her STAR teacher.

Hunter admitted he didn't really have to study for his stellar score. He didn't give away any secrets on how to excel on the SAT, except the obvious:

"Know your math and English well," he said.

All of the top-scoring students, and their teachers, were honored at the banquet at the 1818 Club. One by one, their school superintendents and principals presented them with certificates. Both public and private schools were represented.

"It's the whipped cream on top of the cake," said Louise Radloff, vice-chair of the Gwinnett Board of Education. "We want to believe all our children can be successful, and all of these children have excelled."

The school system sent six students to the regional competition last year. All of them had tied with a perfect score of 1,600. It is more difficult to get a perfect score on the new SAT, which has three sections: writing, critical reading and math.

Brouillette was the only student in Gwinnett County to get the highest possible score, 2,400, on the new SAT. But because she was attending a fellowship program at the University of Georgia, she couldn't make it to the banquet to accept her award.

Her father, Gerald, didn't think the new SAT writing section was a challenge for his daughter.

"She happens to be very good with language arts and essays, so the addition was good for her," he said.

Brouillette and Hunter will go on to represent the county at the regional level. A panel of judges will choose the Georgia STAR student and teacher from the regional winners. Selection is based on scholarship, extracurricular activities, citizenship and leadership initiative.

Last year, the top Georgia STAR students were both from Gwinnett County. Lucas Bermudez of Parkview High School was the 2005 state STAR student, and he named his physics teacher, Philip Heier, as his STAR teacher. Joseph Song of Brookwood High School was the first runner-up in the state competition. He chose biology teacher Dan Rawlins as his STAR teacher.

For more information on the Georgia STAR competition, visit http://www.pagefoundation.org/star/index.html.

STAR Students

•Kelly Shaul, Berkmar High School

•John McCurdy, Brookwood High School

•Will Hunter, Buford High School

•Jacqueline Mirandola Mullen, Central Gwinnett High School

•Kristen Harris, Collins Hill High School

•Brett McAdams, Dacula High School

•Yiran Luo, Duluth High School

•Joshua Wilkinson, Grayson High School

•Allison Turner, Greater Atlanta Christian School

•Ray Gesualdo III, Hebron Christian Academy

•Caty Pendley, Killian Hill Christian School

•Huyen Pham, Meadowcreek High School

•Maria Li, Mill Creek High School

•David Mlaver, Norcross High School

•Katherine Park, North Gwinnett High School

•Amanda Brouillette, Parkview High School

•Sagar Gandhi, Peachtree Ridge High School

•Ashley Stanford, Phoenix High School

•Emily Tuttle, Providence Christian Academy

•Ming-Yee Lin, Shiloh High School

•Peter Heisler, South Gwinnett High School

•Austin Cunningham, Wesleyan School

STAR Teachers

•Rose Marie Mason, Berkmar High School

•Debra Hilliard, Brookwood High School

•Timothy Harris, Buford High School

•Kim Mallett, Central Gwinnett High School

•Carolyn Garner, Collins Hill High School

•Jonathan Crymes, Dacula High School

•Mary Anne Meeks, Duluth High School

•Billy Jones, Grayson High School

•Mike Glenn, Greater Atlanta Christian School

•Scott Gaffney, Hebron Christian Academy

•Dan Trotten, Killian Hill Christian School

•Joseph Cox, Brookwood High School (nominated by Meadowcreek student)

•Kelly Buchanan, Mill Creek High School

•Dorothy Lewis, Norcross High School

•Sue Pinion, North Gwinnett High School

•Doug Wagner, Parkview High School

•Ronald Mangrum, Peachtree Ridge High School

•Sherry Fowler, Phoenix High School

•Kay Mahne, Providence Christian Academy

•Stephen Dartt, Shiloh High School

•Susan Healey, South Gwinnett High School

•Joseph Cooper, Wesleyan School