VALDOSTA -- When Lowndes High Scohol's Andrew Crook took the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), his goal was to make a perfect score on the mathematics section.

The 17-year-old son of Linda and Bruce Crook did just that. Recently he found out he did something else too that same day -- achieved the title of STAR student.

"That was an extra bonus," Crook said.

To be named Lowndes High School's STAR student, Crook had to have both the highest SAT score from the November 2002 test date and be ranked in the top 10 percent or top 10 of his graduating class.

Crook is a member of Lowndes High's golf team, the Technology Student Association, the Spanish Honor Society, and the Beta Club. He is active in his church, Park Avenue Methodist, where he serves as a member of the youth choir and men's softball team and as a counselor for Camp Sunshine.

Crook plans to attend either the Georgia Institute of Technology or Southern Polytechnic, where he will pursue his dream of working in the field of architectural design.

Thankful for his undying passion for mathematics, Crook chose Hahira Elementary School's Theresa Garner to be his STAR teacher. He said Garner helped him discover his gift for math and instilled in him a love of learning that will be with him forever.

"I couldn't give Andrew enough math problems back then," she said. "He loved math and would often ask me for more worksheets. I remember him asking me if anyone had ever made a perfect math score on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Even back then, he wanted to be the best."

Garner said she never expected to be named STAR teacher. She said it's a rare honor for an elementary school teacher to receive such a distinction.

"It was really special to be chosen by Andrew," she said. "He's been wrapped around my heart since he was just a third-grader. I will never forget him. I am proud of him."

Lowndes High School's Student Teacher Recongnition (STAR) Program is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of the Azalea City. Statewide, the program is coordinated and sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation, Inc., and co-sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Each year, a top academic senior in each particiating Georgia high school is named a STAR student. These STARs compete for system, district, and state titles. Various corporations and foundations provide scholarships and awards to the state STAR student and teacher as well as the runner-up.

The STAR program recognizes academic achievement, stimulates interest in scholarship, honors teaching, and promotes teaching careers.

During the past 45 years, the STAR program has honored more than 18,500 high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development.



To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call 244-3400, ext. 255.

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