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Johnson, Perry honored as STAR student, teacher

Bulloch Academy pair receive awards at banquet

Johnson, Perry honored as STAR student, teacher

Johnson, Perry honored as STAR student, teacher

Bulloch Academy senior Asa Dunbar Joh...


A three-sport athlete and academic standout, Bulloch Academy senior Asa Johnson has long been a star at his own school.
Tuesday, the high-achieving student earned county-wide recognition, becoming the 2013 Bulloch County STAR Student.
Johnson took home the honor by virtue of recording the county’s highest SAT score, an achievement announced during a STAR Student and Teacher Recognition Banquet held Tuesday night in the Quality Inn and Suites ballroom.
“It is an honor for me to be able to represent my school in this way,” said a soft-spoken Johnson. “I want to thank my family, teachers and friends for always being there for me.”
Accepting recognition alongside Johnson was his STAR teacher — each student chooses their own — Jillian Perry, an English and History teacher at Bulloch Academy.
“Asa is a wonderful student. We’re so proud of him,” Perry said. “I have enjoyed watching him grow as a learner and a thinker.”
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program was created to focus public attention on Georgia’s outstanding students, and the teachers who have been instrumental in their academic development.
The program is in its 55th year in Bulloch County.
A student from each of Bulloch County’s high schools (Bulloch Academy, Portal, Statesboro, Southeast Bulloch and Trinity Christian) is recognized for their personal accomplishments, with the overall winner moving on to a regional — and possibly state — competition, where they are interviewed and judged in the areas of leadership, scholarship, philosophy and citizenship, according to Dr. Tom Koballa, who heads the Education Committee for the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce (sponsors for Tuesday’s event).
To obtain the STAR nomination, students must have the highest score, in one sitting, on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
Perry, whose work with Johnson has spanned six years, said she is not surprised to see her student take home the honor.
“Early on, he stood out among the other high-achieving students. I really think Asa is gifted,” she said. “I have taught nine years and never met another student like him.”
Johnson, who says math and history are his favorite school subjects — he also wrestles and plays soccer and football — said the future beyond an upcoming regional STAR contest is still a bit foggy.
“I’m going to attend Georgia Tech and try to figure it out,” he said, admitting he hasn’t settled on a major. “Maybe it’ll be engineering.”
STAR students, teacher and other guests at the banquet were presented with an inspirational speech by Kathy Bradley, Assistant District Attorney in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.
Bradley encouraged students to reflect on where they have been, as they prepare to graduate, and look forward to where they hope to go.
“In a few short months you will be writing the opening line of a great story,” she told students. “This story will have drama, and pathos, and humor. There will be unexpected plot twists. There will be adventure and romance, and magic. There will be seemingly insurmountable challenges and lucky breaks; there will be crisis of faith and character.”
Said Bradley: “Write your first line well, and the story that comes after, will be the one you were born to tell.”
Other STAR students and teachers attending the banquet were Portal High School’s Ryan Rogers, and his teacher Dennis Moore; Statesboro High School’s Sherwin Davoud, and his teacher Kathy Tucker; Southeast Bulloch High School’s Emiry Blitch, and her teacher Susan Boddiford; and Trinity Christian’s Charity Bray, and her teacher Shannon Coffey.

Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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