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Magnus Hodgson named as 2021 STAR Student
Magnus Hodgson and Aimee Parks were recently named as the 2021 STAR Student and STAR Teacher by the Dawsonville Lion’s Club. From left, Dawson County High School Counselor Kate Jarrard, Dawsonville Lions Club member Don Cargill, STAR Teacher Aimee Parks, Lions Club President Marty Horne, STAR Student Magnus Hodgson, DCHS Principal Michael Negley and Lions Club member Jim Buckley. - photo by Erica Jones

On Thursday, April 15, the Dawsonville Lions Club officially named Dawson County High School Student Magnus Hodgson as the STAR Student and DCHS Teacher Aimee Park as the STAR Teacher for 2021. 

The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program is sponsored by the Dawsonville Lions Club and honors the district’s high school senior with the highest SAT score. 

Hodgson received his STAR recognition after receiving an SAT score of 1510, with a 720 in reading and a 790 in math. 

After being chosen as the STAR Student,  the student then selects the STAR teacher, a teacher they believe has had the most impact on them during their high school career. Hodgson chose Parks, who he had for English arts and literature from sixth grade until ninth grade. 

Hodgson said that while he loves math classes, he very much dislikes literature and the more creative subjects. Because of that, Parks’ classes were difficult for him. 

“Math comes to me really easily, other classes not so much,” Hodgson said. “I don’t have to study much for math, but I don’t like history, science or literature classes.” 

Parks said that while Hodgson was in her classes, she always made sure not to take it too easy on him. But at the same time, she always tried to make her class one that he could, with a lot of work, grow to like. 

“My class was difficult; when he came in as a sixth-grader he hit the ground running and it was a shock for a lot of them,” Parks said. “My class was very creative, so Magnus was taken out of this mathematical bubble, and he and I both had to work equally hard because I had to get creative in my teaching to foster a love of the subject he did not like and he had to perform well and meet me at my standards.” 

Even after Hodgson had graduated out of Parks’ classes, he said that she always made a point of staying in touch with him and making herself available if he ever needed her help. She stayed connected with him and his family, celebrated his accomplishments, and even offered to help revise his college essays. 

Because of that dedication, Hodgson said that picking her as his STAR teacher was an easy choice. 

“I’d feel guilty if I didn’t pick her to be honest; I had her for so many years and I really got attached,” Hodgson said. “And I realized when I was scrolling through all the comments on my mom’s post about my SAT scores that I see one person that I recognized — no other teacher said congratulations. She revised my college essays; even though I didn’t have her after ninth grade she’s still stayed in contact.” 

Parks said that if she would have had to make the choice of who to pick as the STAR Student, Hodgson would have been at the top of her list for his hard work and drive to be his best, even in the subjects he didn’t like. 

“If there was a lineup of kids, Magnus is easy to pick out as a STAR Student,” Parks said. “I never gave him the benefit or the slack and pushed him for four years, and he did it.” 

Hodgson will be graduating in the spring with an array of honors and accomplishments, including hundreds of community service credit hours from volunteering his time at churches, local charities, tutoring and school events like Camp Invention. 

He has been in the gifted program in the Dawson County School system since he was in third grade, and he has also been a part of the National Honors Society, Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America and the Spanish honors society. 

Hodgson is planning on attending the University of Georgia in the fall and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in applied math. With the impressive number of Advanced Placement classes he’s taken throughout his high school career, he will be graduating with 40 college credit hours, putting him close to the level of a college sophomore during his first semester. 

“At Dawson County High School I’ve pretty much just taken as many AP classes as I can just to get college credit,” Hodgson said. “I got into the honors program at UGA and might stay there for four years and try transferring somewhere like MIT if I can get in.” 

Hodgson said that while he wasn’t expecting to receive the STAR student award, he’s pleased to have gotten the honor.

“I really didn’t want it that bad but I’m glad I got it,” Hodgson said. “I get scholarships and awards and stuff and it feels really honorable since I didn’t get valedictorian, so this is a nice alternative.”