Wednesday October 4th, 2023 8:57AM

Gainesville Kiwanis honors Gainesville, Hall County STAR students, teachers

By Joy Holmes Multimedia Journalist

The Gainesville Kiwanis Club honored 11 students and teachers from the Gainesville and Hall County school systems Tuesday at the 64th annual Student Teacher Achievement Recognition ceremony.

The Kiwanis Club honors the STAR program as a longstanding tradition of educational excellence in the Gainesville and Hall County areas. The program is sponsored, administered, and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the PAGE Foundation. The program has honored more than 28,000 exceptional students in the last 64 years.

“In order to obtain the nomination for STAR students, graduating high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT, and also be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students in their class based on grade point average,” Director of Innovative and Advanced Programs Laurie Ecke with the Hall County School System said.

Once a student is recognized as a STAR student at their respective school, that student must then choose a STAR teacher to be recognized as the most influential to their academic achievement. The STAR student and STAR teacher are recognized together at the annual STAR ceremony, where one STAR student is chosen as the overall Gainesville City STAR student, and another is chosen as the overall Hall County STAR student.

2023 County System STARS:


STAR Student

STAR Teacher

Cherokee Bluff High School

Joseph Caron

Jeremy Purdy

Chestatee High School

Bralin Garcia

Garciela Martin

East Hall High School

Walker Barrett

Donna Shirley

Flowery Branch High School

Samuel Malone

Kelley Brumbelow

Johnson High School

Emily Nguyen

Melanie Beard

Lanier Christian Academy

Grayson Harris

Harry Champy

North Hall High School

Anderson Kennedy

Cynthia Greer

West Hall High School

Stephanie Trinh

Kelly McKinney


2023 Gainesville City System STARS:


STAR Student

STAR Teacher

Gainesville High School

Hassan Khan

Dr. Chandra Karnati

Lakeview Academy

Luke Harris

Craig Waddell

Riverside Military Academy

Bekhruz Turabov

Dennis Bagwell

Samuel Malone, a senior at Flowery Branch High School, was named the Hall County STAR student. He was joined by his STAR teacher, Kelley Brumbelow, who taught the student American Literature and AP English Language.

“I chose her [Ms. Brumbelow] because she truly cares about all her students and she constantly pushes each one of them to grow,” Malone said. “I can look back at my calculus, physics, or chemistry classes and think of all the formulas and theorems I’ve learned, but it’s truly a special rarity to be able to look back at a class like Ms. Brumbelow’s, where I’ve grown not only in knowledge, but as an individual.”

Malone will attend Vanderbilt University next year where he plans to double-major in music and mathematics.  

Hassan Khan, a senior at Gainesville High School, was named the Gainesville City STAR student. He selected Chandra Karnati as his STAR teacher. Karnati taught five AP mathematics courses to Khan during his academic career at Gainesville High School.

“I really owe a lot of where I’m going in life to Doctor Karnati because he really sees the potential in students and he pushed me to do things I would have never considered before,” Khan said. “Doctor Karnati is one of the most important people in my life and I hope that I’ve made him proud.”

Khan was named a National Merit Scholarship finalist in September 2022 and a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program in 2023. He wants to pursure a degree in computer science and has been accepted to multiple colleges including UGA, Georgia Tech and Princeton. Khan will bring with him 19 AP credits and five dual-enrollment credits to college, which will give him enough credits to be considered junior.

The two STAR students, Malone and Khan, will represent the Gainesville and Hall County areas in March at a regional event. The students will compete for the regional STAR title with STAR students from 10 other school systems: Dawson, Fanin, Gilmer, Habersham, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, White, and Mountain Ed. Charter. 

The region STAR student will attend a state-level STAR banquet and ceremony in April.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Gainesville City Schools, Hall County Schools, Kiwanis Club, STAR student
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