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Augusta Prep senior is Columbia County STAR

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Augusta Preparatory Day School student Hutton Brandon outscored eight other high school seniors to win the Columbia County STAR Student title Thurs­day night.

STAR student Hutton Brandon (left) from Augusta Prep. and the school's headmaster Jack Hall talk to Margie Bennett of the Harlem Woman's Club after the STAR recognition Program. The Harlem Woman's Club has sponsored the STAR student program for 50 years.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
STAR student Hutton Brandon (left) from Augusta Prep. and the school's headmaster Jack Hall talk to Margie Bennett of the Harlem Woman's Club after the STAR recognition Program. The Harlem Woman's Club has sponsored the STAR student program for 50 years.

"I don't think I've gotten anything higher than this," Brandon said following a reception at the Harlem Woman's Club. "It definitely wasn't something I expected."

Brandon, 18, scored a 2320 on a single administration of the SAT to earn the award, which annually recognizes graduating seniors who get the highest scores. The maximum SAT score is 2400.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce launched the Stu­dent Teacher Achievement Recogni­tion program in 1956, but this year is the 50th the top-scoring senior has been recognized in Columbia County.

Part of the program includes the STAR students selecting a STAR Teacher, a former or current educator who greatly influenced his or her academic career.

Brandon chose math teacher Tim Shafer, which is the eighth time in 10 years an Augusta Prep STAR Student has chosen Shafer for STAR Teacher.

"He is brilliant, kind and responsible," Shafer said of Brandon in a speech delivered by Augusta Prep Head of School Jack Hall. "He has the people skills for customer service and the brain skills for research and development."

Shafer was out of town Thursday coaching the school's girls basketball team.

Brandon will represent Columbia County at the Region 7 STAR banquet, which is scheduled for March 24 at First Baptist Church in Thomson. The winner of the region, which takes in 13 counties, will go to the state banquet in Atlanta in late April.

more stars from across the area

Other students and teachers recognized during Thursday's reception :

  • Stephanie Cipollone, 18, of Augusta Christian Schools, who scored 2040 and picked math instructor Jack Hook as STAR Teacher
  •  Johnna Kelley, 17, of Evans Christian Academy, who scored 1860 and picked English teacher Alex McClain
  • Erika M. Blair, 17, of Harlem High School, who scored 2090 and picked social studies teacher Betty Bailey
  • Tabitha Lynn Colbert, 18, of Grovetown High School, who scored 2130 and picked English teacher Kim Buchanan
  • Sierra Hovet, 17, of Evans High School, who scored 2240 and picked social studies teacher Eric Leiden
  • Paige Yelvington, 18, of Evans High School, who scored 2240 and picked Spanish teacher DiAnne Johnson
  • Wendy Xiao, 17, of Lakeside High School, who scored 2270 and picked science teacher John Cato, his fourth nomination for STAR Teacher
  • Matthew Johnson, 17, of Greenbrier High School, who scored 2290 and picked social studies teacher Ashley Johnson

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