Fayette County High: A School of STARs

Tue, 05/27/2008 - 4:28pm
By: The Citizen

No school is shinning brighter these days than Fayette County High; it has the “stars” to prove it.

Every high school in Georgia has a STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) student and teacher. The student is the one with the highest SAT score and the teacher is the educator the student selects who has had the most influence on his or her academic success.

When the STAR selections were done for this year, Fayette County High emerged with one STAR student and three STAR teachers. Here’s how it happened.

Amy Lynn Evans, Fayette County High’s STAR student, selected science teacher Shane Kuykendall as her STAR teacher. Whitewater High’s Alyson Pigford chose AP psychology teacher Jan Daniel as her STAR teacher after taking one of Daniel’s classes at the LaFayette Educational Center. And finally, Leah Allmer, a student at Ola High in Henry County, picked English teacher Stephen Bain as her STAR teacher from when he taught her 10th grade Honors English at Henry County High.

Here’s what the STAR students had to say about their STAR teachers.

“I have always been interested in the sciences and Mr. Kuykendall's enthusiasm sparked my interest in chemistry. His passion for teaching makes the learning more enjoyable and he makes the subject of chemistry laughably simple,” says Amy Evans.

“Mr. Kuykendall has taught me that it is okay to make mistakes because you will learn from them and eventually have success. He also encourages me to reach beyond what I think I am capable of and challenge myself. For the four years that I have been at Fayette County High School, Mr. Kuykendall has been the STAR teacher each year. I think that this is a testimony to the impact he has on students’ lives and what an outstanding teacher he is.”

Alyson Pigford used many adjectives to describe Jan Daniel’s class and teaching philosophy. “She makes the class interesting and enjoyable. She teaches in creative ways and helps us whenever we need it. She makes us feel comfortable, respected and intelligent. She shows passion for her profession and for people. The atmosphere of the class is welcoming, fun, funny, caring and productive.”

Alyson went on to add, “I feel like her class has prepared me for college classes. She has encouraged me to strive for excellence and has taught me important learning and study skills for the future. She is a wonderful teacher with a heart for people. She has taught me to be myself, enjoy learning, build relationships and do my best. I am blessed to be her student.”

Leah Allmer credits Stephen Bain for helping her become an independent thinker. She says, “Mr. Bain represents the teacher that every school wants. Through his humor, he connects with his students so that they listen and give their best for his class.”

Leah says that Bain made books and literature interesting and that he inspired her to excel further in school. “He provided me with insight and made me realize that just reading a book at face value meant nothing. Without Mr. Bain, my appreciation for literature would be nonexistent; without Mr. Bain, I would have never become independent in thought or have the mind capable of doing so.”

None of the teachers say they are surprised to learn that their students earned the STAR recognition for their schools but they are humbled that of all the teachers who have touched their students’ lives, that the students selected them as their STARs.

“I was honored to know that I had influenced Amy in such a positive way. Amy has a dedicated work ethic and a drive to be successful. I have no doubt that she will continue her successes in college and serve as a role model for other upcoming students in the future,” says Kuykendall.

Just as Alyson described Jan Daniel as someone with a heart for people, Daniel similarly describes Alyson as a student with compassion and impeccable character.

“I was humbled that such an amazing, talented, gifted and compassionate student would select me. It is both an honor and privilege to be Alyson's Star Teacher,” Daniel says.

“Alyson is an outstanding young woman with impeccable character. I am astonished by her extraordinary intellect and commitment to education. She possesses a genuine love, joy and excitement for learning.”

Bain says he is lucky to have the opportunity to work with students like Leah. He describes her as a remarkably talented student.

“She has the dual talents of being a hard worker and being incredibly smart. She was an excellent writer who spent time crafting her essays and she was also an insightful reader,” he says.

“Being named STAR teacher is a wonderful honor. I feel lucky that I have been given the opportunity to work with really talented students like Leah. Teachers always like to have their efforts acknowledged, and it happens far too seldom, so I am really glad there are programs like STAR Student and STAR Teacher out there. I am also incredibly grateful to Leah for picking me.”

login to post comments