STAR Students Shine Brightly

District STAR Students Shine Brightly
Posted on 04/26/2021
Congratulations to the amazing STAR Students and Teachers in Douglas County! The Rotary Club of Douglas County recognized the honorees at a luncheon on April 19.  Sammi Zhu from Douglas County High School was named the STAR Student for the county, meaning her SAT score was the top score for all students in Douglas County. Congratulations to the amazing STAR Students and Teachers in Douglas County! The Rotary Club of Douglas County recognized the honorees at a luncheon on April 19.

Sammi Zhu from Douglas County High School was named the STAR Student for the county, meaning her SAT score was the top score for all students in Douglas County. She chose Corinne Barnes as her STAR Teacher. This is the 13th year the county’s top STAR Student has been enrolled at Douglas County High School.

STAR Students must be enrolled seniors in an accredited Georgia public or private high school. The program is designed to recognize high school seniors who have the highest SAT score in their graduation class. STAR Students select a teacher who has meant the most to them in their educational journey as their STAR Teacher.

Alexander High School has two STAR Students and Teachers this year after Hayden Bogner and Roman Compitello had the same high score on the SAT. Hayden chose Kimberly Laver as his STAR Teacher, and Roman chose Evan Gibbs.

Chapel Hill High School’s STAR Student is Wyatt Griffin, and he chose Kristen Johnson as the teacher who has meant the most to him during his academic career.

Tiolulope Popoola is the STAR Student at Lithia Springs High School, and her STAR Teacher is Debra Vinsant. New Manchester High School STARS are senior Sua Williams and teacher Whitney Swift.

Sammi Zhu
Sammi Zhu
DCHS & District STAR Student
Corrine Barnes
Corinne Barnes
French
DCHS Star Teacher 

Sammi Zhu moved to the United States from China at the age of four to live with her parents. She started kindergarten at Annette Winn Elementary knowing no English. By first grade, she was in the gifted program, and she now speaks four languages.

Sammi, an IB student at DCHS, selected Corinne Barnes as her STAR Teacher. “Madame Barnes is there for every event with encouraging words,” said Sammi. “Without the experiences I’ve had with Madame Barnes, I would not be the person I am today.”

Sammi will continue her studies this fall at Harvard University, where she will study International Business. She was also accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Georgia Tech and other prestigious universities.

Madame Barnes remarked that Sammi has remained humble and has a strong work ethic. Sammi has held several leadership positions in extracurricular activities at DCHS.

Hayden Bogner
Hayden Bogner
AHS STAR Student (tie)
Kimberly Laver
Kimberly Laver
Anatomy, AP Biology
AHS STAR Teacher
Roman Compitello
Roman Compitello
AHS STAR Student (tie)
Evan Gibbs
Evan Gibbs
History and Geography
AHS STAR Teacher 

Hayden Bogner is in the AP (Advanced Placement) Capstone program at AHS where he is a member of National Honor Society, Beta Club and HOSA. He is active in his church, participates in community service and works part-time. “Although taking higher-level classes was a challenge, it prepared me to have a deeper understanding of my studies and work,” said Haden about his AP Capstone experience.

Speaking about his STAR Teacher, Kimberly Laver, Hayden said, “Ms. Laver is probably one of the nicest teachers I’ve ever met. She could serve as a model for other teachers to follow. She is patient, kind and listens to her students. She has made a tremendous impact on my life.”

Hayden is still deciding which university he will attend, but he will pursue a pre-med track and aspires to be a radiologist. “I want to help people who are underserved and can’t afford good healthcare,” said Hayden.

Roman Compitello has enjoyed trying different activities during high school. He played football one year, was on the Robotics team and joined the Track team last year as a pole vaulter. He says pole vaulting is a new sport to him that he has enjoyed learning. “It’s not like anything I’ve done before,” says Roman about pole vaulting. “It’s a fun, active niche sport that I’ve loved learning about and participating in. I’ve met a lot of new people through the sport.” Roman is also a member of National Honor Society at AHS.

Outside of school, Roman served as an IDF counselor at a camp in California for children who have immune deficiency, something he lives with daily. He is also a member of the Civil Air Patrol, a civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force.

Roman will attend Purdue University and major in aerospace engineering with a concentration in aeronautics. With the pole vaulting, Civil Air Patrol participation and aerospace engineering major, it’s clear Roman loves to fly! His long-term career goal is to be a mission specialist on a space flight.

“I’m excited to begin college at Purdue and broaden my horizons and meet new people,” said Roman. He says he is ready for the next step of his life that will take him away from Douglasville, but he says Douglasville is home, and returning home will always be special. 

Wyatt Griffin
Wyatt Griffin
CHHS STAR Student
Kristen Johnson
Kristen Johnson
Social Studies
CHHS STAR Student




















While in high school, Wyatt Griffin has participated in the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, National Honor Society and served on the State Superintendent's Student Advisory Council. He has been on the yearbook committee and served as an officer in both SGA and DECA. He competed in nationals in DECA his sophomore year. Wyatt also participated in swim all four years of high school and placed 9th at state in two events this year.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my entire high school experience at Chapel Hill High School, and I give that credit to my STAR Teacher Mrs. (Kristen) Johnson,” said Wyatt.

Wyatt plans to major in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech where he will begin this summer through the Ignite Summer Launch Program. “I am not fully sure what my future career may hold,” said Wyatt, “but the field of aerospace engineering is full of opportunities, and it’s only growing.”

Tiolulope Popoola
Tiolulope Popoola
LSHS STAR Student 
Debra Vinsant
Debra Vinsant
Healthcare Science
LSHS STAR Teacher 
Tiolulope Popoola is a biomedical and healthcare science STEM student at LSHS. Her teachers say that her passion for learning and devotion to academic excellence is evidenced by the 9 AP and 12 Dual Enrollment classes she has completed, in addition to many academic honors and awards.

In addition to her academic accomplishments, Tiolulope has been very involved in extracurricular activities, including 4-H, where she has been a leader on the local and state level.

Tiolulope selected Ms. Debra Vinsant as her STAR Teacher. “Ms. Vinsant has been so supportive throughout my high school career. She always pushes her students to reach their full potential and is always so caring.”

After high school, Tiolulope will attend the University of Georgia as a nutritional sciences major and a Spanish minor. She will be a pre-med student, with plans to become an OB/GYN specializing in maternal and fetal health.

NMHS STAR student and teacher

Sua Williams, left, NMHS STAR Student and Whitney Swift, participated in the Rotary STAR Student presentation virtually. Ms. Swift teaches social studies. 

Sua Williams has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average in high school while pursuing the healthcare science pathway and taking advanced placement classes. She is a member of National Honor Society, serving as the organization’s secretary, and she tutors students in the AVID program. She received a Certificate of Merit from the University of Georgia for being in the top five percent of the junior class.

“I have made so many great memories in high school,” said Sua. “I am so thankful for our school for providing students with the best quality resources and helping me to have this honor of becoming the 2021 STAR Student of New Manchester High School.”

Sua has not finalized her university decision, but her undergraduate major will be biology with an ultimate goal of becoming a transplant surgeon.


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