CCSD Announces 2024 STAR Students

Patrick Allen and Art ConwayFebruary 7, 2024

The Clarke County School District is pleased to announce Patrick Allen of Clarke Central High School and William “Art” Conway of Cedar Shoals High School as the district’s 2023-24 STAR Students.

The STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) program, created in 1958 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and now sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), recognizes the senior at each high school with the highest SAT score on any single test date who is also in the top 10% of their class based on grade-point average. Every STAR Student also names a STAR Teacher who has influenced them in their academic pursuits. The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the local STAR awards.

In addition to winning at Clarke Central, Patrick Allen has been announced as the STAR Student for the Clarke County “system,” which includes all public and private schools located within the county. He will now compete in the PAGE Region 4 contest for the chance to advance to the state competition. The region winner will be announced March 14.

Slane and AllenPatrick is a member of the Clarke Central cross country team and currently the captain of the tennis team. He is a co-founder and vice president of the school’s Investment Club, participates on the Academic Team, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Outside of school, he founded a tennis program which provides donated food to local food banks.

Patrick has been accepted to the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Georgia, the University of Virginia, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a semifinalist for the Stamps President's and Dean’s scholarships at Georgia Tech and a finalist for the Foundation Fellowship at UGA.

"I’m honored to be recognized as CCHS’s STAR Student. So much hard work has gone into my academics in high school, and it truly does mean a lot to receive this award,” said Patrick, who selected Clarke Central social studies teacher and head tennis coach Elliot Slane as his STAR Teacher. “I’m glad to see Mr. Slane receive this recognition, too. Over the years, he has become my trusted mentor, helping to build what is one of the best tennis groups the school has ever seen. He is an engaging and exciting teacher and brilliant mentor, and he made U.S. History one of my favorite AP subjects.”

Mr. Slane said he has known Patrick through tennis since his ninth-grade year and has been amazed to see Patrick’s academic ability and work ethic in the classroom.

“I am honored to have been named a STAR Teacher, especially because I was named by such an exceptional person,” said Mr. Slane. “Patrick truly is an incredible student, and I am thankful that he was in my AP U.S. History class as a junior. He is more than worthy of being named a STAR Student. I am so proud of him and excited to see what he will accomplish in the next phase of his life.”

Hacker and ConwayCedar Shoals STAR Student Art Conway is a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. He is a member of the Beta Club at Cedar Shoals and volunteers weekly at his church. He shared that one highlight of his high school career has been the opportunity to take a multivariable mathematics course at UGA, and he plans to study mathematics in college. He selected Cedar Shoals math teacher Brandt Hacker as his STAR Teacher.

“I am very excited and glad to be STAR student,” Art said. “I chose Mr. Hacker as my STAR Teacher because he encouraged me to push my boundaries academically and to look for unusual ways to apply what I learn.”

Mr. Hacker said Art’s combination of humility and intellectual curiosity is what makes him such a special student.

“Though he could have easily learned statistics without my help, he came to class each day with questions that not only enriched his own understanding of the material, but that also challenged me and his classmates,” Mr. Hacker said. “A student like Art forces everyone they come into contact with to think more deeply, and I am a better educator after having had the privilege to teach him.”

Patrick and Art, along with their teachers, were recognized Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the weekly lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of Athens, where Patrick’s selection as the system winner was also announced. 

“Honoring these amazing young people and the teachers who have supported them is one of the best parts of my job,” said Dr. Robbie Hooker, CCSD Superintendent. “These students represent the promise of our community. We congratulate them while thanking their teacher mentors for their dedication to them and the hundreds of other students they support every year, and we thank their parents for encouraging them and providing the home support that is vital for student success.”