Erin Chizmar wants to change the world.
And the Grovetown High School STAR Student possesses the drive and intelligence to do it, said STAR Teacher Tracy Roden.
“Her view of the world is filled with optimism,” Roden said.
The 18-year-old senior, who scored a 2180 on the SAT to win STAR Student, credits Roden for helping shape that view of the world in such classes as AP U.S. history and AP government, and through their mutual work on the Model U.N. team – Chizmar is team president and Roden is the faculty sponsor.
“(Roden) is a driving force in my life,” Grove-town High Principal Penny Jackson said quoting a speech written by Chizmar for the STAR Student reception held last month in Harlem.
Chizmar and Roden were attending a Model U.N. competition in Statesboro and were unable to make it to the reception. At the competition, Chizmar won first place representing the African Union.
The Model U.N. work inspired Chizmar to major in international studies when she starts school this fall at the University of Georgia.
“I want the chance to make a difference in the world,” she said.
Already, Chizmar has embarked on that path.
For her senior project this school year, Chizmar started a UNICEF club, which raised funds to purchase a cow for an African village.
“(Roden) really opened up that world to me,” Chizmar said.
Roden started her teaching career nine years ago at Laney High School, where she first was picked as a STAR Teacher. She won that title twice more while teaching social studies at Greenbrier High.
A Texas native, Roden didn’t initially intend on becoming a teacher.
“I graduated law school, but then decided that I really didn’t want to be a lawyer,” she said.
After moving to Augusta, where her sister served a residency at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center, Roden started substitute teaching. It eventually led to a full-time career.
“I really enjoy the students,” she said.