COVINGTON -- Winter break didn't stop Newton County schools and the Kiwanis Club of Covington from honoring the county's new group of stars.
In the 52nd annual celebration, they honored the three students and their selected teachers for the 2010 Newton County School System's STAR -- Student Teacher Achievement Recognition -- program.
"This gives us the opportunity to see the cream of the crop," said Perry Haymore, a Kiwanis member who helps organize the recognition. "These students are the top in their schools."
This year, Alcovy High School's STAR student is Eric Ritenour, who selected English teacher Charles Ardis as his STAR teacher; Eastside High's student is Beth Godfrey, who chose English teacher Carla Temple; and Newton High's student is Brooke Wilson, who chose science teacher Lisa Oswald.
"We are proud of all of these students," said NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley. "We wish them the very best of luck. We also are thankful to these teachers, who without them it would not be possible to challenge these students and bring out the brightness that's there and encourage them."
The STAR program, which is nationally sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and locally sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Covington, honors graduating high school seniors in the top 10 percent of their class with the highest Scholastic Assessment Test scores in their schools.
Kiwanis also honored Godfrey as the county's STAR student.
She scored a 2210 on her SAT and plans to attend the University of Georgia to study music.
While in high school, she's been involved in band, color guard and service groups like the Key Club and the Junior Service Guild; she also was a junior representative last school year and student body president this school year.
She chose Temple because she said she is the best teacher she had at Eastside.
"I loved going to her class -- it was my last class of the day, and I always looked forward to going to it," she said, adding that literature also is her favorite subject. "She's a superb teacher."
Alcovy's Ritenour, who scored approximately 2170 on his SAT, plans to attend Oxford College of Emory University to study political science as a precursor to law.
He's also been involved in marching band.
Ritenour said he chose Ardis because he truly cared about teaching, not just curriculum standards or a paycheck.
"He went home and thought, 'How can I make tomorrow's lesson plan interesting and educational,'" Ritenour said. "He's a fantastic teacher and one of the best and a true gem in the county."
NHS's Wilson scored a 2010 on her SAT and plans to study genetics or pharmacology at UGA and eventually advance research in medical solutions.
In high school, she's been in the Beta Club, Senior Committee, French Club and Creative Writing Club. She's also been honored through Governor's Honors, Student of Merit and All A Honor Roll throughout high school.
She chose Oswald as her teacher because she's always been supportive and knowledgeable.
"She exemplifies what a high school teacher should be," Wilson said. "She will answer every question students have ... and she's always smiling ... always on her toes."
Both students and teachers took home certificates. Students also will receive a Kiwanis scholarship at their school's Honors Night.