Senior Richard Virgo has been named this year’s Dalton High School’s STAR student, and he has chosen psychology teacher Dr. Karen Chenard as the STAR teacher. “I’m always building stuff,” said the 16-year-old.
The STAR student is based on top SAT scores, and the recipient must also be in the top 5-10% of their school.
Mr. Virgo, who scored a 2230 on his SAT, heard he was named STAR student back in December.
“I didn’t think I’d get it,” the 18-year-old said. “I thought there would be someone else who must’ve done better.
It’s pretty neat.”
Mr. Virgo then had to choose a teacher who had done a lot for him during his high school career. He chose Dr. Chenard. Mr. Virgo took Chenard’s Advanced Government class as a freshman, and then took her psychology courses as a junior and senior.
Dr. Chenard said Virgo quickly stood out in his freshman class. “He knew all about political issues,” she said. “He was well informed.”
Dr. Chenard also pushed Mr. Virgo to take AP Government his sophomore year. “I saw he could do it as a freshman even though he’s on the quiet side,” she said.
Dr. Chenard says she sees a lot of herself in Virgo. “He’s quiet, but reflective,” she said.
“She is my favorite teacher,” Mr. Virgo said of Dr. Chenard. “She taught me about psychology, and she has influenced my college career choice.”
Dr. Chenard said this was her first time being STAR teacher, and she’s very honored Mr. Virgo thought of her. “I’m very flattered,” she said. “I didn’t think I was on the radar for it. But I probably understand him and the way he thinks more than any other teacher. It’s a real joy to teach him. I love doing what I do. I chose the right profession.”
Mr. Virgo and Dr. Chenard were recognized locally at a lunch sponsored by the Rotary Club, and then at a district luncheon at the Rome country club. “It was pretty cool,” Mr. Virgo said of the luncheon in Rome. “I was comparing myself to them. I thought I was smart, but these people were light-years.”
“I hope he makes a difference in the world,” said Dr. Chenard of Mr. Virgo. “I hope in college he has the confidence to act on his abilities. I hope he makes something of himself.”
Mr. Virgo will attend Georgia Tech in the fall and plans to peruse an area in bioengineering.