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Statesboro High's STAR Student wins regional honor
Immaneni, McCombs advance to state
W 031412 STAR STUDENT TEACHER 02
Statesboro High School teacher Richard McCombs, left, lauds senior Supriya Immaneni during Wednesday's STAR Student/Teacher banquet at Georgia Southern University. The pair took top regional honors and will compete on the state level. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Bulloch County brought home the gold Wednesday as Statesboro High School STAR Student Supriya Immaneni took top honors during the Region 8 STAR Student banquet.
    With an SAT score of 2370, meaning Immaneni missed only one question, the SHS senior outranked 17 STAR students from 16 regional school districts. Treutlen County had two STAR students with tied scores.
     Region 8 includes Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Chatham, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Liberty, Long, Montgomery, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen and Wheeler counties as well as the Vidalia City district.
    “This was definitely a surprise,” Immaneni said after the banquet. “But it is a wonderful surprise to have. Being one of these STAR students is amazing.”
    Her STAR teacher, Richard McCombs, agreed. “It is a tremendous surprise,” he said. It’s phenomenal.”
    The pair will advance to the state STAR Student/Teacher competition, set for April 23 in Atlanta.
    The regional banquet was held in the Georgia Southern University Information/Technology Building atrium, hosted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and sponsored by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce.
    During the program, each STAR student spoke and explained why they chose their STAR teacher.
    “From day one (McCombs) has been so supportive of my endeavors,” Immaneni said. “He encouraged me to join FFA … and is supportive of my research work at GSU.” To McCombs, she said, “You are my mentor.”
    Immaneni said she is waiting to hear from several schools to which she has applied, but she has not made a decision yet. She intends to pursue a career in medicine.
    McCombs praised Immaneni, saying she is “one of the students you don’t teach a whole lot. You just provide her with the pathways.”
    Candler County STAR Student Rhett Lanier told the crowd he intends to study biochemistry at the University of Georgia. His STAR teacher, Dr. Mary Ann Stanley, “always encouraged academic excellence,” he said. Stanley, who recently appeared on TV’s “Jeopardy,” said Lanier is “just the ideal student. Rhett is very gifted and pushes himself to excel.”
    Screven County STAR Student Chelsea Widener was not present for the banquet, as she is jointly enrolled in college, but sent a written message praising STAR teacher Tommie Evans as having “encouraged my passion for chemistry and always encouraged me to do my best. She is supportive and always allowed to do my own thing.”
    Evans said Widener “is a unique individual and taught me a lot about teaching.”
    STAR students received gifts of tee shirts and frames from GSU and PAGE. Immaneni received a $500 scholarship and McCombs received a $200 gift certificate from the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce.
   
    Holli Deal Bragg maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.

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