By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Community honors top students
Chamber hosts STAR banquet
LCHS STAR student Zachary Glasco poses for photos with his teacher, Brian Nixon (left) and Chamber Director Kenny Smiley. - photo by Photo by Marguertie West
Out-of-control Bunson burners, the physicality of science education and the friendliness of computers were some of the highlights shared at the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition luncheon on Thursday.
The STAR program honors outstanding high school seniors in Georgia and the educators who have been instrumental in their academic success.  
The luncheon was presented by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and attended by community leaders and event sponsors. Liberty County Superintendent Judy Scherer reflected on the community’s mission in helping students succeed, saying, “It takes all of us working together to provide our students with an exceptional education.”
To be nominated for STAR recognition, students must earn the highest scores on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or among the top 10 students of their class based on grade-point average. They select a teacher to honor.
STAR students and STAR teachers honored here were Zachary Glasco and teacher Brian Nixon from Liberty County High School, Christopher Smythe and teacher Susan Nobles from Bradwell Institute, and Patrick Steele and teacher Kathryn Walden from First Presbyterian Christian Academy.
“He made learning interesting, and he made it fun,” Glasco said of Nixon, who teaches biology and anatomy. “I don’t know how, but he uses his whole body when he teaches. He makes macomolecules and mitochondrial DNA interesting.”
Nixon told the audience Glasco is one of those students “you wish you had more of. You wish you could clone him and have 30 of them.”
“I have no doubt that whatever he chooses to pursue, he’ll be a success,” Nixon said.
BI’s Smythe said he appreciated his teacher, Nobles, for giving her students a taste of higher education practices. “She hasn’t handed us every piece of information we need,” Smythe said. “She allows her students to work for that knowledge. It prepares us for college.”
Smythe hopes to work with computers through college and help timid computer users understand the benefits of their machines. “It’s something you look at as a friendly thing or an unfriendly thing,” he said. “Computers aren’t that challenging, and that’s what I hope to show people.”
Nobles confirmed her student’s classroom assessment and said his mathematical talents are “beyond any student I’ve ever taught, and I’ve been at Bradwell for 25 years,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll ever have anyone else who has the intelligence he has, but also the character he has.
“It took 25 years for a student to understand my class, so I probably won’t be here again,” Nobles joked.
The humor continued with FPCA student Patrick Steele, who praised science teacher Kathyrn Walden for her accessibility and willingness to assist students in and out of class. “Ms. Walden is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had,” Steele said.
Walden said having Steele in her various science classes has allowed her to see him grow up. She recalled a moment when, after receiving Bunson burners for the laboratory, somehow the fire alarms went off. One student chose to see the situation as a point of pride, she said. “I heard someone say, ‘Oh my gosh, we are the first class to cause the building to be evacuated!’ And of course it was Patrick.”
Walden also praised Steele’s intelligence, compassion and willingness to both participate and help other students. “With those two things, compassion and intelligence, he’s gonna make a pretty big impact on the world,” she said.
The STAR program also recognizes students who receive the highest SAT score by inviting them and their selected teachers to compete for regional honors. Smythe and Nobles will represent Liberty County at the regional competition in March.
Sign up for our e-newsletters