Ziegler named Troup County STAR student

Published 1:52 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2021

LaGrange High School’s Tristan Ziegler was named Troup County’s STAR Student on Wednesday during a meeting of the LaGrange Rotary Club.

Ziegler plans to attend Georgia Tech and major in computer science. He selected LHS biology teacher Erin Calhoun as his STAR teacher selection. STAR, or Student Teacher Achievement Recognition, was created to focus public attention on Georgia’s outstanding students and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their development.

To obtain the STAR nomination, students must have the highest score in one sitting on the three-part Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) taken through the November test date of their senior year. Students must also be in the top 10 percent or be one of the top 10 students of their class based on grade point average. Each high school STAR student is asked to name his/her STAR teacher.

Each school in Troup County has one STAR student, creating five finalists. Other finalists were Saeam Shim (Callaway High) with STAR teacher David Curtis; Ben Dixon (Lafayette Christian) and STAR teacher Vikki Stringham; Silas Liechty (LaGrange Academy) and STAR teacher Janice Ingram; and Barbara Leigh Hart (Troup High) and STAR teacher David Diehl.

Each finalist spoke about their high school experience and why they chose their STAR teacher during the Rotary meeting, which was held on a Zoom call.

“He always answered every question I had, no matter how ridiculous it seemed or how unimportant it may seem to the topic at hand,” Ziegler said of Calhoun.

Shim plans to major in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech this fall.

“Any success I had is due in part to the Callaway High School and the Troup County School System. My family immigrated to the United States in 2017, but none of us could speak English. However, the school and the school system great services such as ESOL [English as a second language] …and offering a Korean translator allowed us to navigate the new adventures here in the United States.”

Shim said Curtis, who retired last year, was still trying to give lessons and communicate with students for the AP exam.

“Whenever I struggled or needed help, he answered my questions through email or he created a virtual session about what I didn’t fully understand,” Curtis said.

Dixon plans to attend Berry College and study biology. Dixon had Stringham as a teacher three times during his time at LCS, and he said all of them were great memories.

“When I first got into middle school, I had Mrs. Stringham as a teacher for the first time,” Dixon said. “Within the first couple of weeks, she was already my favorite teacher because the way she made scripture come alive in the classroom.”

Liechty said Ingram had impacted his life many ways, in and out of the classroom.

“In the classroom, you can tell she loves what she does. She is very passionate about the subjects she is teaching and she shows so much kindness to the students,” Liechty said. “… Her main goal is for the students to succeed.”

Hart said Diehl challenged her and encouraged discussion in the classroom.

“He allows for freedom of expression in the classroom,” Hart said. “We have class debates and discussion over all of the challenging literature we talk about … It’s amazing because he makes people care. He makes people care because he cares. I look forward to going to school so I can attend his class.”