Top Liberty County students and the teachers who most inspire them were recognized Thursday at a Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Progress Through People Luncheon at Connection Church on Patriot’s Trail in Flemington. The event, held to honor local STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program) recipients, was sponsored by Georgia Power and Savannah Technical College. The chamber has honored STAR students and teachers for more than 30 years.
Terrie Sellers, Savannah Tech’s Liberty County campus dean of student affairs, congratulated STAR students and teachers, and quoted Nelson Mandela by saying, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” adding that these students and teachers are doing just that.
Oriana Hollingsworth, a Liberty County High School senior, was named the 2014 STAR Student of the Liberty County School System and of LCHS. Hollingsworth selected her English teacher, Sue Bell, as her STAR teacher.
“Ms. Bell was always there for me as a teacher, mentor and someone who challenged me to step outside my comfort zone,” Hollingsworth said. “She has become not only a mentor, she has become my friend.”
“This is the highlight of my life,” said Bell, wiping away tears of joy. “She’s the best that America has to offer.”
Bell said Hollingsworth accepted every challenge put in front of her.
“She also has a good, generous spirit,” Bell said of her student.
Hollingsworth plans to major in nursing at Mercer University and work toward her goal of becoming a family nurse practitioner.
Bradwell Institute STAR student Dylan Stephens chose his math teacher, Susan Nobles, as Bradwell’s STAR teacher. Nobles said Stephens is intelligent, has integrity and is a kind person.
“He’s my go-to person,” Nobles said of Stephens. Nobles, the school’s Beta Club advisor, said Stephens takes his role as Beta Club vice president seriously.
“He handles everything with finesse like he’s been doing it for years,” she said.
Nobles, who has been teaching at Bradwell for 29 years, is not an easy-A type of teacher, according to Stephens.
“Ms. Nobles’ class is difficult,” he said. “However, I learned more in her (calculus) class than ever before.”
Stephens said his teacher encouraged him and believed in his abilities.
“I’m proud to be your student, and I’m very proud to be one of the nerds who will someday rule the world,” he said.
The Bradwell senior plans to major in industrial engineering at Georgia Tech this fall.
Student athlete Dalton Smiley is this year’s First Presbyterian Christian Academy STAR student. Smiley selected FPCA teacher Angela Lormis as his STAR teacher. Lormis said she has had the pleasure of teaching Smiley since he was in sixth grade.
“My No. 1 goal in math class with Dalton was to try to work out the problem on the board before he called out the answer,” she said. “He works problems out in his head.”
She added with a laugh that her No. 2 goal was to ensure her answer matched Smiley’s.
Lormis said all her students at FPCA are special, and that Smiley is a star among them.
Smiley said Lormis is like a second mom to him. He said he and Lormis’ son are close friends. As his teacher, Smiley said Lormis has taught him to be a problem-solver.
Smiley will attend the University of Georgia this fall. He plans to study engineering.
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.