Alexander J. Fishman, a senior at John S. Davidson Fine Arts School, can definitely be described as a shooting star.
So can Jesse Scherer of Evans High School.
The duo will be headed to Atlanta on May 2 as the two students from the Augusta area who have qualified for the final round of the STAR program.
Mr. Fishman, or Zan as he's called by his friends and family, was named Richmond County's STAR Student in a ceremony earlier this month in Augusta.
Earlier this week, he was named a state finalist at the District 7 STAR competition and tied with Mr. Scherer, 18, a senior who received this year's Columbia County STAR student award with a perfect 1600 score on his SAT.
The district event included competitors from 12 area counties.
Mr. Fishman, 18, who also scored a perfect 1600 on his SAT, hasn't decided where he wants to go to college. He's been accepted at the University of Georgia and Washington University in St. Louis, according to his father, Steven Fishman, and he is waiting to hear from Amherst College and Swarthmore.
"He's involved in four kazillion things ... intramural basketball, jazz, math club," he said.
Mr. Scherer, the son of Rebecca Scherer of Martinez, said he will be attending Georgia Institute of Technology after graduating high school to pursue a computer science major. His interests include the band, where he usually plays the tuba.
"I'm quite honored by the whole thing," Mr. Scherer said of representing his district. "And I'm looking forward to the state level where there will be some really tough competition."
Mr. Scherer said he has a high respect for the STAR program because "it's nice to see a purely merit-based award."
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program was created to focus public attention on Georgia's outstanding teachers and students. During the past 43 years, the STAR program has honored more than 18,000 high school seniors who have in turn chosen special teachers to share in this recognition.
Mr. Fishman chose Davidson Fine Arts High School teacher Richard Manley to share the glow of the STAR program. Mr. Scherer chose his English teacher, Debbie Daniels.
To obtain a STAR nomination, students must have the highest score in one sitting on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or the top 10 students of their class. At the state level, Mr. Scherer said an interview is conducted with each district representative to judge them on personality, school involvement and other criteria.
The STAR program is sponsored on a statewide basis by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the Georgia Department of Education.
Reach Justin Martin and Preston Sparks at (706) 724-0851