LaGrange High School’s Kim named county’s STAR Student

Published 9:00 am Thursday, February 16, 2023

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On Wednesday, five students and teachers from Troup County’s high schools were honored during the 2023 Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR), hosted by the LaGrange Rotary Club.

The chosen students, Dylan Nation (Callaway High School), Alex Tusing (Lafayette Christian School), Jack Baker (LaGrange Academy), Minchae Kim (LaGrange High School) and Maya Billinsela (Troup High School) had the highest score in one sitting on the three-part Scholastic Assessment Test taken through the November test date of their senior year. They also had to be in the top 10% or be one of the top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.

The LaGrange Rotary Club has hosted the STAR Student recognition program for over 60 years.

For the occasion, the students prepared a response on the topic of: “The STAR teacher I chose made a difference in my life.” Each student read their response at the podium with their teacher by their side.

Minchae Kim from LaGrange High was named Troup County’s overall STAR Student.

For this honor, Kim will advance to the regional competition in Columbus on Feb. 27 and the winners at that level will go on to compete for the state STAR award.

Kim chose Brandi Turner as her STAR teacher because of how she helped her succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

“Mrs. Turner has had a positive impact in my life by teaching me about not just school, but about life,” Kim said. “Whenever I needed advice or mentorship, she would always listen, engage and give supportive advice.”

Kim plans on going to college and majoring in biology.

Nation chose his beloved kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Carla Cook, as his STAR teacher because she instilled a love for learning in him at young age.

“Mrs. Cook made her class a balanced place for children to learn and grow. She taught every single one of her students how to be kind and friendly to one another. Not only did she give me a drive for learning, she also gave me a drive to win and succeed,” Nation said.

Tusing chose Megan Guidry as his STAR teacher for her impacting his love of math. He said he plans to go to college to be an engineer.

Baker chose Teresa Krizay as STAR teacher because of how she challenged and encouraged him in public speaking. Baker has been accepted to eight colleges.

“Mrs. Krizay has always been there for me every time I need an opinion — I look to her always, even though she has not been my teacher this year,” Baker said.

Billinsela chose long-time STAR teacher Chance Giddens as her teacher because of his dedication of making history interesting and relevant for students. She said she plans on attending Georgia Tech when she graduates.

“Throughout my many years of school, I was not a big fan of history classes but that changed when I took his class,” Billinsela said. “The way he’d structure his lessons kept the whole class engaged and made history a high point of the day.”