Emanuel County Institute senior Nikki Clifton and Swainsboro High School senior Andrew Lamb have been named the 2021 PAGE STAR Student for their respective schools. They each earned this recognition for academic achievement and performance on the SAT. The Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce, local STAR program sponsor, announced the honor Thursday, April 15, 2021 at a small ceremony at Southeastern Technical College.
Clifton selected Joseph Korwin as her STAR Teacher, and Lamb selected Selena Reynolds as his STAR Teacher.
Additionally, Lamb and Reynolds were recognized as the STAR Student and Teacher system winners for Emanuel County Schools. They will compete at the region level and hopefully the state level as well.
Nikki Clifton – ECI STAR Student
Jessica Nicole “Nikki” Clifton is the daughter of Jess and Teresa Clifton.
After high school, she plans to complete her undergraduate education in linguistics at the University of Georgia, followed by law school. Her career plans are to become licensed as an attorney and court interpreter. Her extracurricular activities include videography for The Rock Worship Center in Stillmore and scuba diving.
As a freshman, Clifton received the Academic E (93 average of above), World History Award, and Physical Science Award. In 10th grade, she received both the Biology Award and the Spanish II Award. Clifton, as a junior, received the Chemistry Award as well as the University of Georgia Certificate of Merit. This year, as a senior, she is an honor graduate and the valedictorian of her class.
She was voted Most Intelligent by her senior classmates, and she participates in the dual enrollment/Move On When Ready program at East Georgia State College, from which she will graduate with her associate degree while simultaneously graduating from ECI. She was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Collegiate Honor Society in 2020 and was a recipient of the DAR Youth Citizenship Award in 2017. She holds the scuba certification level of master scuba diver and has completed several other certifications such as rescue diver, CPR/first aid, and “Scubility Dive Buddy” and “Scubility Surface Buddy,” being certified to provide assistance above and below the waves to wounded warriors and other disabled persons during their adventures in the underwater world.
When asked why she chose Joseph Korwin as her STAR Teacher, she replied, “Mr. Korwin was the first teacher to come to mind as my choice for STAR Teacher, and for good reason. Along with having a great sense of humor, he also has a great amount of respect for his students while remaining realistic about the world with them. Additionally, I always loved the way that he promoted individuality and independent thinking and encouraged my class to be their own people; in his own words, he encouraged us to be ‘lions’ in a world of ‘sheep.’ Despite only having his class for one semester during my freshman year, the impact that his class made on me remains through the way that I took some of his teachings to heart. It is evident that he puts in a great amount of effort to teach material that will not only help students in school but outside of school and in the future as well. This is why I see him as a true STAR Teacher.”
Joseph Korwin – ECI STAR Teacher
Joseph Korwin, or, as his students call him, “Coach Korwin,” is in his fifth year of teaching, all of which have been at Emanuel County Institute. Korwin has a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgia Southern University. He added a Master of Arts in English and then Master of Arts in Teaching in 2015 and 2017 respectively from Georgia Southern. This coming year, he will begin his educational specialist (Ed.S) degree in teacher leadership from Valdosta State University. Currently, Korwin teaches ninth and 10th grade World Literature.
Coach Korwin is proud to be an active member of the teaching staff at ECI. He has been coaching in various capacities for four years at ECI. He is an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the middle school football team. This gives him a chance to get to know and interact with students he will have in ninth grade. Previously, he coached middle school boys’ basketball for two years before becoming a boys’ varsity basketball assistant coach in 2019.
Unfortunately, Coach Korwin only got to teach Clifton once—in 9th Grade Honors World Literature. While Clifton was always a very quiet student, from the second she entered his class, he could tell she was able to think about concepts in both a creative and methodical way. He always admired her ability to see the little details within stories or pieces of writing that made them uniquely, good or bad. This ability made her an excellent writer when it came to both essays and narrative. He says Clifton was excellent to have in a literature class because whenever the class would finish a discussion on a text, she would politely raise her hand and throw out a perspective previously not discussed or noticed. Sometimes, all Coach Korwin could reply was, “Oh, yeah,” or, “Wow, Nikki, that’s a good point. Thanks for catching that.” Korwin adds that he is positive that Clifton’s hard-working attitude applied to all her classes and will continue to do so as she moves forward to college and adulthood.
Andrew Lamb – SHS STAR Student
Andrew Lamb is the 18-year-old son of Andrea Roberts and Jody Lamb. In addition to being named STAR Student, he has received numerous other accolades throughout his time in high school such as being named the valedictorian for Swainsboro High School’s Class of 2021. He has also been named a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship, the recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizen Award for both Emanuel County and the Georgia State Society NSDAR Southeast District, a semifinalist for the United States Youth Senate Program, and was selected as an alternate for the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program in mathematics. Throughout his time in high school, Lamb has served on student council all four years. He has also been a member of FBLA and Beta Club, placing second in the Division 1 Mathematics Competition at the National Beta Convention during his freshman year.
After high school, Lamb will be attending the University of Georgia as a member of the honors program. In addition, he has been selected as one of only 48 people to be awarded the Bernard Ramsey Scholarship, one of UGA’s highest merit-based awards, and looks forward to taking advantage of all the research and travel opportunities that the Ramsey Scholarship offers. He plans on majoring in cognitive science and attending medical school after graduation.
Lamb selected Selena Reynolds, his teacher for AP United States History (APUSH) during his sophomore year, as his STAR Teacher. Despite being a difficult class, Reynolds’ passion for the subject and genuine care for her students resulted in APUSH being Lamb’s favorite class during his high school career. She has an extraordinary desire to help her students in any way possible. Because of this, he considers Reynolds to be a great role model and it is with the utmost honor that he names her as his STAR Teacher.
Selena Reynolds – SHS STAR Teacher
Selena Reynolds is a social studies teacher at Swainsboro High School. A graduate of Metter High School, Reynolds attended Brewton-Parker College and earned her bachelor’s degree in history education in 1996. After teaching her first year at Portal High School, Reynolds came to Swainsboro High School in 1997. She later earned her master’s and educational specialist degrees in secondary social science education from Georgia Southern University. Throughout her career, she has been named a national board certified teacher, earned gifted endorsement, and received certification to teach AP U.S. History. She was named Swainsboro High School’s and Emanuel County’s Teacher of the Year for the 2006-2007 school term.
While at Swainsboro High School, Reynolds has served as the social studies department chair and student council advisor. She currently teaches U.S. History II and AP U.S. History and is a member of Emanuel County 4T (Teams Transforming Teaching Together). Reynolds is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society for women educators. Being a classroom teacher allows her the opportunity to interact directly with students and develop important relationships while sharing her passion for history. As a member of Swainsboro First Baptist Church, Reynolds also enjoys working with children by volunteering in the nursery and the children’s church program. In addition to history, her passions include gardening, reading, traveling, and cooking. She lives in Swainsboro with her husband, Brett, and their daughter Savannah, a junior at Swainsboro High School.
Having the opportunity to teach Lamb and be selected as his STAR Teacher is one of the highlights of Reynolds’ career. According to Reynolds, Lamb has such intellectual promise and his character is beyond reproach; he is just as talented in reading and comprehending complex texts and writing powerful essays as he is solving complex math problems. His work habits, she continued, mirror his academic performance. He is not afraid of challenges and puts forth his best effort with each and every task. Despite his success, Lamb always strives to do better, and he graciously accepts constructive criticism and guidance. He is, Reynolds said in closing, “the epitome of what it means to be a STAR Student.”
About PAGE STAR Program
The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program, now in its 63rd year, is sponsored, administered, and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and the PAGE Foundation. Since its creation, the STAR program has honored nearly 28,000 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic achievement. To obtain the 2021 STAR nomination, graduating high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
STAR begins each year in participating high schools throughout Georgia when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 170 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program. Students then compete for school system titles, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners compete for the honor of being named Georgia PAGE STAR Student. STAR Teachers continue on with their STAR Students at every level of the program.