Meet your 2023 STAR Students from BHS, JMA and GMC Prep

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It might be the dead of winter right now, but before you know it spring will be here and graduation season will roll around.

In the mean time, the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its annual STAR Student/Teacher ceremony, all set for Feb. 2. The STAR Student from each respective school is "the graduating high school senior (with) the highest score on a single test date on the SAT," so long as that student is "in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average." A pair of Baldwin High students actually tied for the school's STAR Student recognition. They are:

••• Elaine Abella, BHS Star Student

Abella "plans to attend Georgia Institute of Technology next fall to pursue a major in Computer Science."

"My parents have always been my #1 motivators in life," wrote Abella. "They moved to the U.S. in 2004 with practically nothing to call their own, but worked extremely hard to give my brother and I the opportunity to succeed. They showed me the importance of never giving up, working hard to achieve my dreams, and believing in myself. Thanks to them, I am where I am today."

Here is a list of Abella's clubs and organizations:

● Baldwin High School Yearbook – Senior Editor

● DECA – Vice President of Leadership

● JV/Varsity Tennis

Here is a list of Abella's awards and special recognitions:

● National Hispanic Recognition Program (College Board) 2021-2022 Scholar

● National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program (College Board) 2021-2022 Scholar

● Oconee RESA Technology Fair (1st Place in Multimedia Applications) May 2021

● Community Service Recognition Award (BHS DECA) May 2022

● Exchange Club Youth of the Month – December 2022

● Oconee RESA Technology Fair (1st Place in Game Design) January 2023

••• Xuan Yang - Baldwin High School

Yang plans to "pursue double majors – neuroscience and economics – at Emory University."

"People’s stories and words (are my biggest motivator). Whether it’s a lecture from a teacher or a restaurant recommendation from a friend, their words always make me excited to experience and learn," wrote Yang. "When my AP Biology teacher taught an interesting subject in class, I felt motivated to research more about the topic at home. After listening to a person discussing the knowledge they gain and the fun they had traveling, I became motivated to one-day travel to different continents. Listening to people living life to their fullests always inspire me to push further."

Here is a list of Yang's clubs and organizations:

● BHS Tennis (9th, 11th-12th)

● DECA (11th-12th)

● Key Club (11th-12th)

● Chess Club (12th)

● Orienteering (9th)

Here is a list of Yang's awards and special recognitions:

● Mathematics Governor’s Honor Program Finalists

    ● AP Scholar with Distinction

    ● College Board National Rural and Small Town Recognition

    ● Regional DECA Personal Financial Literacy Competition

    ••• Emma Soltay, John Milledge Academy

    "While I haven’t decided on a college yet, I have been accepted to Mercer, Auburn University, the University of South Carolina, Louisiana State University, and Georgia State," wrote Soltoy. "I hope to attend one of these to pursue a degree in nursing where I would specialize in pediatrics."

    Added Soltay: "The importance of education has been stressed to me my whole life not only by my parents but also other members of my family. They have been there for me from celebrating all A’s in the first grade to being recognized as STAR Student my senior year. They have motivated me to do the best that I can in every aspect of my life, and I would not be where I am today without their support. A personal motivator has been the life-threatening food allergies that I have lived with since the age of two. Countless hospital visits and misconceptions about allergies have pushed me toward a career in the medical field, specifically pediatric nursing. I want the opportunity to spread more awareness about food allergies while also taking care of kids, like myself, who have to be on guard with every meal and around people who try and test the limits of their allergies."

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    Here is a list of Soltay's clubs and organizations:

    ● Watson-Brown Junior Board of Trustees President

    ● Beta Club President

    ● National Honors Society Vice President

    ● Literary Team

    ● Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy

    ● Varsity/Travel Softball

    Here is a list of Soltay's awards and special recognitions:

    ● Silver Presidential Service Award (Accumulated 175+ service hours in one year)

    ● Gold Presidential Service Award (Accumulated 250+ service hours in one year)

    ● Highest Class Average (AP Language and Composition, U.S. History)

    ● JMA Trustees Essay Scholarship Recipient

    ● Literary Rhetorical Essay Region Runner-Up

    ••• Tucker Ivey, GMC Prep

    Ivey plans on "attending the University of Georgia to study astrophysics and then pursuing a higher degree at an Ivy League school," with the hopes of "helping learn the science behind black holes."

    "My biggest source of motivation has been myself and my drive to be challenged and successful, but I have also been motivated by my parents and a few of my teachers," he wrote.

    Here is a list of Ivey's club's and organizations:

    ● Senior Beta Club

    ● National Honor Society

    ● Spanish Honor Society

    ● Rho Kappa Honor Society

    ● Mu Alpha Theta

    ● Army JROTC member

    ● Marching Band

    ● Concert Band

    ● Military Band

    ● Literary

    ● One Act Play Tech Crew

    ● Rifle Team Marksman

    ● Youth Leadership Baldwin

    ● Chick-fil-A Leader Academy

    Here is a list of Ivey's clubs and organizations:

    ● GHP Math Semifinalists

    ● Academic Excellence

    ● Distinguished Cadet (Leadership)

    ● Distinguished Cadet (Academics)

    ● Literary State Champion

    ● Rifle Team State Champion

    ● One Act State Champion

    ● AP Scholar

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