Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 2, 2014

VHS names STAR students and teachers

-- — Chowdhary and Drossos

VALDOSTA – This was an exceptional year for the Valdosta High School STAR student program. Two outstanding students, Aneesha Chowdhary daughter of Dr. Prem Kumar and Dr. Lilam Seth of Valdosta, and Samantha McLendon daughter of Bill and Robin McLendon of Valdosta have been nominated as the honored recipients for 2013-14.

 Each year, the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program nominates Georgia high school senior students who receive the highest scores on a three-part SAT in one sitting and who must be in the top 10 percent of their class. The Kiwanis Club of Valdosta is the STAR sponsor.

 In between tennis practice and dance rehearsal, Chowdhary studied months in advance for the SAT’s with a College Board practice book. “I made sure to finish preparing a week before the actual test so that I could relax and eliminate stress,” informs Chowdhary.

 First State Bank Student Advisory Board member, Varsity girls’ tennis Captain, VHS Yearbook Editor, and dedicated dancer (at Dance Arts); Chowdhary made balancing her extra-curricular activities and content-rich course load appear effortless.

According to Mrs. Narci Drossos, “Aneesha is world-aware, well-traveled, open-minded, goal oriented, and challenge-seeking.”

 Mrs. Drossos, an IB English, ESOL and British Literature teacher for 24  years was chosen by Chowdhary as her STAR teacher for having mad the most significant contribution to the STAR student’s scholastic development.

Drossos taught Chowdhary English and Journalism during her sophomore and junior years and has worked with her on the year book staff. “Her outgoing personality turned her classes into the perfect balance of fun and learning. She helped me improve my writing skills tremendously by teaching me the importance of active voice and powerful verbs and adjectives,” mentions Chowdhary.

 In preparation for the numerous amount of tests high school students must take, such as ACT’s, SAT’s, and EOCT’s, Drossos challenges students to read, reflect, and write in the hopes that these skills will also apply to all aspects of life, including personal growth.

 Over the years, Chowdhary and Drossos have shared many memorable moments together; building the yearbook, writing literary essays and sports articles for In the Game magazine, experiencing adventures on the Journalism squad, discussing IB works, laughing at life, and even practicing yoga. “However, when I go to college, I will miss most running into her at the yoga studio that we both attend on weekends,” Chowdhary reminisces.

 Chowdhary is a National Merit Finalist and will attend Emory University in Atlanta. She is unsure about her major, but she is leaning towards Biology or Journalism/English. “I want to get involved with an Emory newspaper or magazine, the Volunteer Emory organization, and Outdoor Emory, a club that promotes staying active in nature and keeping the environment as clean as possible,” she says.

Chowdhary also plans to continue dancing and desires to pursue photography.

 “Aneesha is so polished, focused, and organized — I don’t think she needs my advice, but I would definitely tell her to be herself and stay in touch.  I can’t wait to see her brilliant future unfold,” Drossos says of advising Chowdhary before college.

 High school STAR students compete for system titles; and system STAR students in turn compete for region honors in the 12 STAR Regions. Region winners and their STAR teachers are invited to Atlanta to compete for the state STAR scholarships and awards.

Finally, region winners are interviewed, and the runner-up and State PAGE STAR student and STAR teacher are announced.

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