Starkville High School has named senior Soyeon Park the 2023 STAR Student for her score of 35 on the ACT. Soyeon selected Andrew Lark as STAR Teacher, recognizing him as the teacher who most impacted her high school career.
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program recognizes high school seniors in Mississippi who earn the highest ACT score in their school. The STAR student then selects his STAR teacher.
Soyeon, a student in the Technology, Engineering and Construction (TEC) Academic House at SHS has been accepted to Purdue University where she plans to major in Computer Science after graduation from high school. She says she hopes to work with businesses and entrepreneurs, creating programs to minimize workload.
"I want to create programs that prioritize accessibility and are intuitive to people not well-versed with technology," Soyeon shared.
Soyeon's vision and drive to create new things comes as no surprise to Andrew Lark, the instructor she chose as STAR Teacher.
"Soyeon is one of my most God-gifted, creatively artistic students that I've had the opportunity to teach here at Starkville High School," Lark said. "She is truly dedicated to being a life-long learner."
In fact, Mr. Lark predicts Soyeon will use her passion to do something "globally lifechanging."
"She is a true future leader," he says. "When I look at Soyeon, I see resilience - the willingness to endure new changes. Her ability to accept criticism is amazing. She has constantly shown me her tenacity to grow and accept new things. Soyeon's future is extremely promising."
As a student in Andrew Lark's visual arts classes, Soyeon credits the teacher's dedication to his art as well as his students among her most inspiring high school experiences and one of the reasons she chose him as STAR Teacher.
"Mr. Lark has impacted me in so many ways," she said. "As an art teacher, he has not only gifted me with the knowledge to acquire the artistic skills I need to succeed, but his attention to excellence and dedication to his art is a big inspiration to me. Additionally, it is clear how much he cares about his students and desires for them to succeed. Not just in the classroom, but out in the world as well. Without him, I would not feel half as prepared as I am now. I am very lucky to have had him as a teacher."
Soyeon Park and Andrew Lark were honored on April 13 at a luncheon hosted by the Mississippi Economic Council and the M.B. Swayze Educational Foundation recognizing all of Mississippi's STAR Students and Teachers.