Lakeside High School senior Lindsey Liu received Columbia County's top academic honor Thursday for earning the county's highest SAT score.
Liu was named the 46th annual recipient of the countywide Student Teacher Achievement Recognition honors at a ceremony sponsored by the Harlem Woman's Club. She selected advance placement literature teacher Charles Heywood as her STAR teacher.
STAR honors are awarded annually to seniors with the top SAT score and for being in the top 10 percent of their class. A finalist for the award is chosen from each of the county's four public high schools, Augusta Christian Schools and Augusta Preparatory Day School.
Liu, who is considering a major in biochemistry or microbiology in college, earned a score of 2,380 out of a possible 2,400 on the test. Liu said the Georgia Institute of Technology recently informed her of her eligibility to be a presidential scholar should she choose to attend the college.
"I didn't expect to be the systemwide winner, but I am very glad I am," she said after the ceremony. She gave credit to her parents for her academic success.
Liu, who is a captain of Lakeside's Science Olympiad and Science Bowl team and won the Georgia State Science Fair as a sophomore, chose her English teacher because Heywood cultivated her love of literature.
"Mr. Heywood's greatest gift to me is intellectual curiosity," Liu said.
Heywood told the assembly of woman's club members, educators and city leaders that he couldn't imagine why Liu would pick him. He read an e-mail Liu wrote telling Heywood he was a favored teacher because literature was the one class she didn't "often fall asleep in."
"It was humbling to know my competition for STAR teacher was a NoDoz pill," he said to roaring laughter.
Jokes aside, Heywood said Liu was an inspiring writer and "challenged me to be a better teacher."
Heywood, who is retiring this year after 26 years in the classroom, has been named a STAR teacher 15 times.
The other finalists and teachers were:
- Augusta Christian senior Andy House and math teacher Jack Hook
- Augusta Prep senior Mattie Sue Judd and classics teacher Franklin Kennedy
- Evans High senior Leanna Wenger and English teacher Mary Jane Stout
- Greenbrier High senior Stephen Cai and band teacher Michael Katterjohn
- Harlem High senior Erin Logue and English teacher Noel Feeney.
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