Anna Darnell earned the designation as the Jones County’s 2009 STAR student, and her talents reach way beyond academics. STAR students have the opportunity to select a teacher to share in their recognition, and Darnell chose her Spanish teacher, Linda Bowden.
Bowden is not new to the STAR arena, having also been chosen as STAR teacher by 2003 STAR student Doug Jackson.
The STAR program, now in its 51st year, is sponsored statewide by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, and in Jones County the STAR students and teachers are sponsored by the Jones County Kiwanis Club. Jones County High School principal Chuck Gibson presented certificates to Darnell and Bowden Feb. 6 and said the pair will be honored by the Kiwanis at their next meeting.
Georgia’s STAR program honors outstanding high school seniors, and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. During the past 50 years, the STAR Program has honored more than 21,000 high school seniors and teachers.
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce launched a program in 1956 to recognize the student in each high school with the highest score on the SAT and two years later added the teacher who had the greatest influence on the student’s academic career.
The Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation has coordinated the state program since 1994 in association with the Chamber and the Georgia Department of Education.
Every accredited high school in Georgia is eligible to participate in the STAR program. To be eligible for the nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on the three-part SAT and must be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
Region recognitions are coordinated by region chairs who serve as ambassadors for the state program across 12 regions, and winners at the region level come to Atlanta to vie for the state PAGE STAR award.
Darnell scored a 730 on the reading portion of the SAT, 690 for math, and 640 for writing. When asked why she chose Bowden as her STAR teacher, she said Bowden has been her teacher for three years and she feels the teacher is amazing.
“She is an excellent teacher and a great role model. Ms. Bowden is a strong Christian and a dedicated teacher. She loves her students and has a real passion for Spanish,” the student said.
Darnell said she has played the clarinet since the sixth grade. She has not decided on a college, but she will be a music performance major. Her plan is to play in an orchestra some day and to teach.
“I want to share the joy of music,” she commented.
Bowden stated that Darnell is a gifted student both academically and musically, and she talked about her student’s passion for life.
“She has made an impact on my life, and wherever she chooses to go, she will make an impact there too,” the teacher said. “I’m excited for her and what life holds for her.”