Good grades are one thing, said Dawson County High School Principal Jute Wilson, but doing exceptionally well on a national standardized test is quite another.
Matthew Kellar, 18, was named the system’s STAR student for scoring a 2,200 on his first attempt at the SAT.
It’s an SAT score Wilson said is the best on record for the local high school and close to a perfect 2,400.
“To take the SAT and perform this well, everybody recognizes that,” Wilson said. “You could take that score to Stanford, California, and they’re going to respect that score.”
The STAR student award is presented annually by the school system and Dawsonville Lions Club to the senior who scores the highest on the SAT in one testing session.
Kellar’s pick for STAR teacher was Sherry Browning, who has taught English for 20 years at the high school.
Browning said it’s Kellar’s work ethic that sets him apart.
“He actually wants to learn,” she said. “He wants an education.”
Kellar said he chose Browning as STAR teacher because “she’s challenged me to think differently and to think for myself.” It was her sixth time being selected for the honor.
A Charlotte, N.C., native, Kellar moved to Dawson County with his parents at age 9. In his spare time, he likes to fly airplanes.
“I’m working on getting my private pilot’s license right now,” he said. “I’ve been working on that for about a year and a half.”
Kellar plans to attend the district STAR banquet later this month in Jasper.
The banquet features students from 12 other schools in the area, one of whom will be tapped to represent the region at the state STAR banquet.