Originally created 02/25/03

STAR pupil will pursue drama major



A score of 1,560 on the SAT already ranked Kara Downey a top student in Richmond County.

The title was made official Monday, when Kara was named Richmond County's STAR Student. The Westminster Preparatory School senior was all smiles as her name was announced at a luncheon sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Augusta.

"I was really excited," Kara said.

The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program was created 45 years ago to focus attention on Georgia's outstanding students and teachers.

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 one of the top 10 students of their class.

The Kiwanis Club has sponsored the STAR Student program for 25 years to honor students from Richmond County's 10 public and three private high schools for their academic success.

As part of the program, Kara got to choose one teacher who inspired her to be the county's STAR Teacher.

Her choice was Laura Harriss, who teaches English at Westminster.

"She always valued creativity as much as she did academics in the class," Kara said. "That encouraged me to pursue my artistic abilities as well as my academic abilities."

The choice was not expected by Ms. Harriss.

"It surprised me because I had only been at Westminster for a year," the teacher said.

Kara's first choice for college after high school is Northwestern University. She said she wants to attend the college because of its theater and academic programs.

"I'm not really sure what I want to do after I graduate," Kara said. "I want to major in theater. I'd like to be an actress."

The STAR program is sponsored statewide by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the Georgia Department of Education.

Reach Amy Connell at (706) 823-3220 or amy.connell@augustachronicle.com.