Ranjit Singh is the 2013 STAR Student for Upson County, and he has named his AP Government/Politics teacher, Stephen Boyd, as his STAR Teacher. Ranjit and Boyd were presented their certificates at the Thomaston Kiwanis Club luncheon Tuesday.
The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 55th year, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Department of Education. Since its inception, the STAR program has honored more than 23,500 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic success. To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class, based on grade point average.
Ranjit is the son of Mr. Bahadur Singh and Ms. Daljeet Kaur. He thanked his family for their support.
“I’d like to thank my family for pushing me and not accepting anything but my best. I really appreciate it.”
Ranjit also explained why he picked Stephen Boyd as his STAR Teacher.
“I’ve had Coach Boyd for two years. I had him in 9th grade for World History and for American Government. He is a coach, so I could really relate to a lot of stuff he said,” Ranjit relatedHe would always make connections with his life experiences and what he is teaching, especially in government. I took Advanced Placement, and I actually passed the AP because of the lessons he taught and those connections that were made. He taught me more than just government; he taught me a life lesson, too.”
Ranjit is still exploring his options of a major and where to go to college. His immediate plan is to attend Gordon College next year to get his core classes out of the way, then transfer.
“I’d really like to do something in technology or medicine,” he said. “Technology keeps moving forward and there are more and more opportunities. The medical field is really nice, too, because you get to help people for a living. I’m really just trying to find the right thing for me.
“I’ve learned from my parents that hard works pays off, and I’m seeing it now.”
Stephen Boyd has been a teacher at Upson-Lee High School for several years. He said he is honored to be in the same category as some of the teachers in the school system that he has admired who have been chosen STAR Teacher in the past. Boyd added that with all the negative publicity schools receive, it is nice to see the community taking pride in students’ success.
“We don’t get to talk a whole lot about the students that are really achieving, students like Ranjit, and high school is full of those students, who deserve our attention and our praise for their accomplishments,” said Boyd. “So I thought it was real nice that we get this chance to think about something positive that our school district is doing.”
Boyd, an Army veteran who served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005-2006, said he taught at the middle school for a year before leaving on his tour of duty, and seriously thought about taking a government job , rather than return to the classroom. But, he said, an Iraqi/American citizen in Iraq urged him to go back and teach,
“He told me before I left, ‘Sergeant Boyd, when you go back, you’ve got to teach these kids. Tell them what we did here. Tell them the truth as it is, not just what the media portrays. Give one hundred percent to these students. Reach out to them and tell them that you care not just about their education and what their grade is, or how well they do in sports, but what type of person they should be. ‘
“Ranjit is a perfect example of that,” continued Boyd. “He came to me in the 9th grade in World History class, and he was just so smart. I wasn’t used to getting these really high level thinking kids yet. I had not done the Honors Program or Advanced Placement yet. I tried to stump him so bad in class, and I could not trip him up. He would listen in class and take notes and participate. And I had him in my Advanced Placement American Government class, and he was just a superb student.”
Boyd addressed his final comments directly to Ranjit.
“I want to talk to you for a second and challenge you to take this opportunity and one, look back at your accomplishments and be thankful for everything around you, and two, to look to the future and represent this community very well,” said Boyd. “Wherever you go to school, just remember that you represent Upson County and be proud of that fact, and accomplish great things. And think about things that are not just about ourselves, but causes that you believe in, and jump up and speak up.”