The brightest STARs: Top students honored

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

DULUTH -- Tom Hui didn't expect to be named Gwinnett County's 2010 STAR student.

In fact, the Parkview High School student almost missed the opportunity to earn the perfect SAT score that helped him win the honor announced Thursday.

Before Hui took the SAT the first time, his parents told him he would not have to retake it if he scored 2,200. He made a 2,190.

"If I had gotten 10 points more on the first time, I wouldn't have taken it the second time," Hui said.

On his second attempt, he earned a 2,400 -- the top score.

Hui and other STAR students, along with their most influential teachers, were honored Thursday at the annual STAR (Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition) luncheon.

Each STAR student is the senior in the top 10 percent of his or her class with the highest SAT score. The STAR teachers were selected by the students as the educators who had a strong influence on their academic careers.

Hui selected language arts teacher Mary Lynn Huie as his STAR teacher.

"I'm really honored. I'm thrilled," said Huie, who has been selected as a STAR teacher three previous times. "Tom's a great student. I loved having him in class."

Hui said all of the teachers at Parkview are good, but he's known Huie since he was a freshman and finds her to be very approachable. Huie taught Hui in 10th grade, but she also works with him through the school's Chinese Club and the National English Honor Society.

Buford's STAR student, Rudi Han, also selected a language arts teacher for the award.

"I'm a math and science guy," Han said. "I didn't appreciate English much ... but (Tim Harris) renewed my love for English."

Harris, who teaches Advanced Placement English, has taught Han for the past two years. This was his seventh time receiving the STAR teacher award.

"It's always a surprise, because I just do my job," Harris said. "For a student to single me out as influential, it's a special surprise."

Han, who earned a 2,110 on the SAT, said it was an honor to be named Buford City Schools' STAR student.

"I didn't think I would get this far," he said. "It's a great honor to represent Buford High School."

As system-level winners in the STAR program, Hui and Han and their teachers will move on to the region competition. In the spring, regional winners will vie for the honor of being named Georgia's 2010 STAR Student and Teacher.

The state STAR program is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Department of Education.