VALDOSTA -- A 17-year-old varsity baseball and soccer player was recently named Georgia Christian's 2002 STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) student.

Josh Savage, the son of Kennith and Linda Savage, was thrilled when he received the news.

"It is pretty cool to get some academic recognition around here," said Savage, a member of the Student Government Association.

When not on the field or in the classroom, Savage enjoys listening to music and is active in his church, South Valdosta Church of God. "I can sit in my room all day and just listen to music," he said.

Savage plans to attend Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., his dad's alma mater. However, he is undecided on what to study.

"I have no idea what I want to do," he said. "I am interested in all kinds of things ... from mathematics to medicine ... There are lots of things I want to do. I only hope I find something I enjoy doing that does not take me away from my family and friends for long periods of time."

Savage selected Jorge Brathwaite, a 1983 graduate of Georgia Christian, as his STAR teacher.

"It's an honor being selected," said Brathwaite, who has been named STAR teacher three times since he accepted a teaching position at Georgia Christian in 1989. "These students share their award with me and recognize what I attempt to do for them each day."

Brathwaite has been Savage's teacher since the 10th grade, instructing him in Spanish, chemistry and human anatomy/physiology.

"I thoroughly enjoy all my teachers," Savage said. "(However), me and Mr. 'B' (have) always connected on a different level. He is definitely a cool guy."

Brathwaite described Savage as a well-rounded, well-informed student, among the brightest he has ever taught.

"His knowledge extends beyond the typical textbook stuff," he said. "He and I talk about music, politics, religion, sports, technology ... I know that whatever he puts his mind to, he will accomplish. The tools are all there."

Savage and Brathwaite will be honored by their local sponsor, the Valdosta Sunrise Rotary Club, at a 7:30 a.m. breakfast on March 21 at the Holiday Inn, said Janeen Josey, president-elect of the club.

The STAR program, now in its 44th year, has honored more than 18,000 students and their teachers. The statewide program is coordinated by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators through its foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education.

The senior with the highest Scholastic Aptitude Test score, from any administration of the test through the November test date of the student's senior year, and ranked in the top 10 percent or top 10 of his or her class is named STAR student in each of Georgia's accredited public and private high schools.

Savage is ranked number nine out of 13 in his class. His SAT score could not be released at this time due to the ongoing competition. A perfect score on the SAT is 1600.

High school students compete for school system titles, and school system STAR students move up to compete for district honors in 12 STAR districts across the state.

The 15 system winners from the area will attend a banquet at 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Valdosta County Country Club, where the District 10 winner will be announced.

Winners at the district level go to Atlanta on April 29 to vie for the state STAR award.

Last year Valdosta High School's Sutee Dee and Jennifer Spreng, who had the same SAT score and class ranking, were declared the winners for District 10.

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

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