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DCHS student Megan Wright named as Region 2 STAR student
Wright is first DCHS student to win region since program’s inception in 1958
megan wright region 2 star student
DCHS senior Megan Wright was recently awarded the title of PAGE STAR student for Region 2, and she and her STAR teacher Hope Honea will move on to the state contest in April. (photo courtesy of Cherie Ferguson)

This week, Dawson County High School senior Megan Wright was officially announced as the STAR student for the region, with the highest SAT score out of 14 total students representing their local districts in Region 2. 

Each year, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program recognizes high school seniors across Georgia who have high achievements and accomplishments in their high school career. Since its creation in 1958, the program has honored over 28,000 students across the state. 

Seniors are selected as the STAR student for their school by achieving the highest SAT score and being in the top 10 percent or top 10 students in their class based on their GPA. Once each student is named as their local winner, they move on to compete against other winners in their region, and region winners move on to compete for state scholarships and awards. Each local winner is asked to name a STAR teacher, who continues with their STAR student during every level of the program. 

Wright was named as Dawson County’s STAR student in January and recognized by the Dawsonville Lions Club, the local STAR program sponsor. She selected Hope Honea, who she had for her AP World History class, as her STAR teacher. 

On Tuesday March 8, Wright and Honea, along with family members and several members of the DCHS administration, attended the region STAR banquet, where Wright’s SAT score was compared to those of all of the other students in the 14-district region. Wright tied for the highest SAT score out of the whole group and was announced as the Region 2 winner. 

While region winners were based purely on SAT scores, each candidate was also responsible for a speech introducing themselves and their STAR teacher. Wright said that, when she heard her name called as the region's STAR student, she was surprised and excited. 

“I had the first speech because they did it in alphabetical order of the school systems so Dawson went first; I hadn’t prepared anything major so I did my little introduction but then a lot of the candidates after me had very written out speeches and so after listening to them talk about all of their achievements I was a little bit intimidated,” Wright said. “So I was very surprised.” 

Wright said that, while she knew she had a high SAT score, she wasn’t expecting to beat out all of the other competitors at the region banquet. 

“Leading up I was not very confident in the fact that I was going to win; I knew I had a good SAT score but I’m not as much of a public speaker and a lot of the kids there were,” Wright said. “So it felt really good — I was surprised because there were a lot of very impressive people there.” 

Wright added that she took the SAT three times, and while her first scores were high too it was the third time that pushed her score to the very top. 

“I had a high enough score the second time and I decided to take it a third time just to see, and I’m glad I did that because otherwise I wouldn’t have won district,” Wright said. “I only improved by like 20 points but that was enough to get to where I am.” 

Wright tied with the student representing Gainesville City from Lakeview Academy, and both students will go on to the state competition in Duluth on April 25. 

Wright’s Region 2 win this year marks the first time that a student from Dawson County has won the region competition since the STAR program’s inception in 1958. Wright’s counselor, Cherie Ferguson, said that the win is not only a huge honor for Wright, but for the school system as a whole. 

“This is the first time that Dawson has won the region, so it’s a big deal for Megan and for our school system,” Ferguson said. “I knew if we had a shot it would be with her and she did it; and I know she’ll do great at state so it’s exciting.” 

Hope Honea, Wright’s STAR teacher, said that hearing her student’s name called as the region winner was an incredibly exciting and emotional moment for her and the rest of the school staff at the banquet. 

“When they announced it Mrs. Negley (DCHS principal) and I were so excited and I started crying,” Honea said. “I felt like when we got there we saw all of the prowess when we came in, and Megan is so humble so she said ‘oh no they’re really smart’, but then she beat them all so I’m super super proud of her.” 

At the state competition, Wright will go on to compete against all of the region winners for the title of the state STAR student. For the state competition, she and the other competitors will be interviewed in front of a panel of judges, so she said that between now and then she’ll be practicing interview techniques and other public speaking skills. 

“At this point I’m not going into state expecting to win, I’m going to try my hardest by state is even more competitive than region was,” Wright said. “I’m going to go into state and do my best but I’m not expecting that to make me a state winner and I’m okay with that because it’s such an honor anyways to get to state.”