Academics hasn't taken a back seat for one area youth, who has talent both on the playing field and in the classroom.
"On the surface, sometimes academics is hard to fathom; why you would need to use a specific skill, like problem solving, in life," said Wayne House, a senior at Augusta Christian Schools, where he was named the STAR student. "People who are successful had to master those same skills to get where they are today."
Though Wayne's parents are largely to credit for his belief in the importance of academics, he pays tribute to the teachers who have encouraged him on his educational journey.
"My teachers have been excellent encouragers," said Wayne, the 18-year-old son of Stan and Beth House, of Evans. "They have pushed me to understand the importance of academics."
When it came time to choose his STAR teacher, Wayne said his mind kept going back to one person: Charles Cooper, a U.S. and world history teacher who also serves as a football and basketball coach at Augusta Christian.
"When I found out that I was the STAR student, my first thought was who to choose as my STAR teacher, and Mr. Cooper kept coming to mind," said Wayne, who earned varsity letters in baseball and basketball during his high school years at Augusta Christian.
"I liked him and I liked the way he taught. For a lot of people, history can be a boring subject, and he taught the cause and effect of the wars and events. He explained the repercussions of what happened years ago and transformed history beyond the facts and figures to the living and how those events still affect us today," he said.
Cooper said he was shocked when he learned Wayne had chosen him as his STAR teacher.
"Because I rarely teach seniors, it came as quite the surprise. Wayne is a great joy to teach and coach. It was an honor to be part of Wayne's special day as he received his STAR student award," he said.
Cooper said Wayne has always been a consistent student.
"Whenever Wayne is given a task, you know that it will be done thoroughly and to the best of his ability," he said. "Wayne has always proven to be a student who will step up in the clutch and make things happen. This is in the classroom and in the athletic arena, as proven by his RBI single that won the Lions the state championship in baseball last year."
Wayne has been accepted to the University of Georgia and Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., but is holding out making a decision until he hears from several other schools.
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