The stars are out.
While students in 27 countries outpace the U.S. in math, these students and teachers are settling the score.
STAR students generate some of the highest SAT math scores in their graduating classes.
Heritage STAR Megan Searles (SAT score of 2100), Rockdale Magnet & Rockdale county-wide STAR Heeyoon Kim (2370), Salem STAR Candice Biamby (1820), and Rockdale High STAR Student Loren Stokes (2070) selected teachers of equal magnanimity.
STAR teachers Julie Kimble, Heritage, Chuck Garner, Rockdale Magnet, Chris Mays, RCA, and Scott Stanton, Rockdale High, joined ranks.
Alcovy STAR Jason Lindner (2070), also class salutatorian, chose STAR Scott Rains, AP calculus teacher, to shine beside him.
STAR Ram valedictorian Alex Grady (1980) surged to power choosing Aaron Robinson, a recent NCSS Teacher of the Year finalist.
Marshal Conner Bryan, Eastside's STAR (2130), class salutatorian, and Newton county-wide STAR, caught a rising eight-time STAR teacher with Eastside's Eric Adams, making Adams the 2013 NCSS STAR Teacher.
And Newton's young scientists made congressional political scientists pale by comparison, wowing Griffin RESA judges with a baker's dozen of top accolades.
According to RESA director Stephanie Gordy, "The Griffin RESA Regional Science and Engineering fair is an extremely competitive fair."
Said Gordy, "Experts in the science, math, computer and engineering arenas from around the region and the metro Atlanta area interview students and evaluate their projects."
Indian Creek's Billy Love took first and a Broadcom Masters award in physics and astronomy with his project, "Drop Zone."
Fellow Indian Creek student Mackenzie Mallard won first in biochemistry with "The Effects of pH on Enzyme Reactions."
Clements Middle student Anthony Fiddes clinched first in plant sciences with "Does Noise Grow?" and fellow Clements student Diana Vo won first in physics and astronomy with "What's the Faster Way to Cool a Soda?"
Michael Hipps of Cousins Middle grabbed a top place in plant sciences with "Will the Color of Light Affect Plant Growth?"
Fellow Cousins student Aidan Moon earned first place and a Broadcom Masters Award in chemistry with "Will a Homemade Geode Form Faster in Full Light?"
Newton County Theme School scientists Tyler Davis and Conrad Martin Jr. won first and a Broadcom in the plant sciences with "What are the Effects of Acid Rain on the Growth of Plants?"
Fellow Theme School student Billy Allen won first and a Broadcom in medicine and health sciences with "Which is the Best Source for Drinking Water?"
Eli Vinson, also at the Theme School, won first in microbiology, exploring "Which Animal Saliva Has the Most Bacteria?"
Alex Grady of Newton High won first place in physics and astronomy division with "Don't Call it a Comeback."
Christopher Gray, also of Newton High, took first in physics and astronomy with his "Space Race."
Finally, Vitaliy Semenikhin, also a Newton Ram, won first in environmental sciences, asking "How Do Oils Affect Biodiesel?" A show stopper, Vitaliy's project garnered additional awards-- the I-SWEEP Recognition Award and the United States Air Force Award.
March winds ushered in good academic news, sustainable only by increasing support for classroom teachers.
Jeff Meadors is the District 1 representative on the Newton County Board of Education. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.