Stephens Co. Honors STAR Student, STAR Teacher

STAR Teacher Carolyn Frady talks about STAR Student Annabelle Zhuno.

Stephens County recognizes its STAR student and teacher.

A reception for this year’s STAR student and teacher took place Thursday in the cafeteria at Stephens County High School.

Earlier this week, the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce announced that this year’s STAR student is Annabelle Zhuno. She is the daughter of Jean Zhuno of Toccoa.

Zhuno said it is an honor to receive the STAR student award.

“It feels really good,” said Zhuno. “Being STAR student was a goal I had so it is good to accomplish that.”

The STAR, or Student Teacher Achievement Recognition, program is in its 55th year. The Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Department of Education sponsor the award.

To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.

The STAR student then selects his or her star teacher.

Zhuno selected her 11th grade SAT preparation class teacher, Carolyn Frady, as her STAR teacher.

She said Frady was an excellent teacher.

“She was very much an encouragement, every day helping me with problems and getting me ready for the SAT and with future plans, she was just very encouraging,” said Zhuno.

As for those future plans, Zhuno said she would like to study biology at Emory University.

Meanwhile, Frady said that she could not believe Zhuno selected her as the STAR teacher.

“(I was) absolutely floored,” said Frady. “She can tell you I shed a tear. It meant that much to me, it really did.”

Frady went on to say that she knows that Zhuno will be successful, calling her a super student in class.

“(Zhuno is) one of the best I have had in 36 years,” said Frady. “Work ethic beyond all, super-motivated, goal-driven, fantastic.”

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce and its Education Committee is the sponsoring organization of the Stephens County School System STAR Program and partners with the high school to honor these students and teachers each year.

Chamber Education Committee Co-Chair Renee Herron said it is very important to honor students for their academic success.

“I think anytime you can recognize a student for hard work and achievement, it only makes them want to try harder,” said Herron. “It only makes them want to look, re-evaluate their dreams, and say ‘What more could I do?’ I think we do a good job in Stephens County of setting kids up for success.”

Zhuno will now move on to compete for region STAR honors. The regional banquet is in Jasper next month, while the state banquet is in Atlanta in April.