When Eric Lim was named Southeast Bulloch High School’s 2023 STAR student, he chose his second-grade through fifth-grade QUEST teacher from Brooklet Elementary School, Joey Harvey, as his STAR teacher. At a lunchtime ceremony Wednesday, they were named Bulloch County’s district-wide STARs.
The ceremony, hosted by the Statesboro Rotary Club during its meeting at Forest Heights Country Club and with the Bulloch County Foundation for Public Education as a sponsor, recognized Student Teacher Achievement Recognition pairs from five participating high schools in the county. These include two private schools – Bulloch Academy and Trinity Christian School – as well as the three public high schools – Portal, Southeast Bulloch and Statesboro High.
Bulloch Academy STAR student James Burke reached back to his prekindergarten teacher, Beverly Campbell, to be his and Bulloch Academy’s STAR teacher. Trinity Christian STAR student Abigail “Abby” Case chose her 12th-grade English Literature and Language teacher at Trinity, Charlotte Crowe, as STAR teacher. Portal Middle High School STAR student Chandler Scott Grooms shares the honor with Portal High math teacher Dennis Moore, making this the fifth time Moore has been a school-level STAR teacher. Statesboro High School STAR student Julia Basquin selected Anthony Hammett, who taught Basquin in AP Government and Politics and then in Advanced Placement U.S. History, as Statesboro High’s STAR teacher.
1550 on the SAT
But high scores from a single taking of the SAT college admissions test play a decisive role in selecting STAR students and then in which school winners advance to higher levels. All of these students posted relatively high SAT scores, but Eric Lim’s score of 1550 out of a possible 1600 was hard to beat.
Bulloch County 2023 STAR teacher Joey Harvey could see Lim was a student of high ability way back in grades 2-5.
“He’s super intelligent, kept me on my toes,” Harvey said. “It was a challenge to keep him challenged.”
Of course, as a teacher in the QUEST program for gifted students, challenging youngsters with high ability to do more is her specialty. Harvey is in her 19th year as a teacher and her 12th teaching QUEST at Brooklet Elementary. This is the first time a high school senior has looked back and made her a STAR.
“It was a shock and an honor, a tremendous honor,” Harvey said.
Lim emailed her about his choice and then surprised her with flowers.
“She’s had a profound effect on me, and ever since I’ve taken her classes, they’ve shaped me into the person that I am today, and I would credit her with most of my academic success,” Lim said Wednesday. “She’s taught me values that really aren’t taught in the classroom very much. She’s taught me that there’s a lot to learn about the world, and there’s a joy to education.”
Lim, 17, said he remains undecided about where he will go next in his education, but he has applied to both Georgia Southern University and Georgia Tech with the intention of studying electrical engineering. As is no surprise for a STAR student, he has around a year’s credit from dual-enrollment at Georgia Southern already.
Lim plays trombone in the Southeast Bulloch High School Marching Band, also known as The Swarm, and the school’s Symphonic Winds ensemble. He competes in singles tennis for the SEB Yellow Jackets.
But music and engineering both run in the family. The STAR student’s father is Dr. Sungkyun Lim, associate professor and graduate program coordinator in electrical engineering at Georgia Southern.
Eric Lim’s mother, Jeeyoon Byun, who accompanied him to the luncheon, is a musician, playing traditional Korean instruments, and majored in this at a South Korean university.
Eric has two younger brothers, Jayden and Ian Lim, and the youngest, Ian, is in second grade and in Harvey’s class at Brooklet Elementary now.
County STARs Lim and Harvey will now represent Bulloch County in the Region 8 STAR competition, hosted by the Statesboro Exchange Club for an area including 17 other school systems. The region banquet will be held March 15 on the Georgia Southern campus, and the Region 8 winners will advance to the state STAR competition, sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.
In addition to their schools’ highest SAT scores from a single testing day, STAR students must have grades ranking in the top 10% or the top 10 students in the current senior class at their schools. Their SAT scores must also equal or exceed the previous year’s national average. School counselors nominate the students based on these criteria.
“It’s a program that honors Georgia’s highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers whom they feel have most influenced their education journey and that they feel had the most impact on their academic development,” said Hayley Greene, public relations director for the Bulloch County Schools and lead organizer of the county event.