Feb 22, 2017
Two former classmates now at different schools ended up tied for Douglas County’s annual STAR Student award this year.
Seniors Erica Bressner of Douglas County High School and Brandon Lindstrom of Lithia Springs High School will share the Douglas school district STAR Student award after they were announced as system winners recently at a meeting of the Douglas County Rotary Club.
Both formerly were enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program at Douglas County High.
Lindstrom went on to seek a different path in computer science in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program at Lithia Springs. Bressner remained at Douglas County High and owns a 4.0 grade point average.
The education advocacy group Professional Association of Georgia Educators sponsors the STAR student program statewide, while the Douglas County Rotary Club sponsors it localls. Students earn the award if they have the highest score on the SAT college entrance exam within the public school district in which their school is located.
The winners, who must be in the top 10 percent of their classes, also select a teacher “most instrumental in their academic development” as their STAR Teacher. Bressner selected IB English teacher Shea St. John while Lindstrom selected Advanced Placement calculus teacher Keenan Lee.
Bressner, the daughter of Niels and Shelly Roberts Bressner, said she knew she had a high SAT score but was unsure if it was the highest, given the large number of high-achieving students in the school’s IB program.
She downplayed receiving the award, though she added she was “pretty competitive” and was glad to receive the honor.
“My parents were happy,” she said. “It’s nice to go on a resume.”
The senior, who plans to attend the University of Georgia, is up for the Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholarship and the UGA Foundation Scholarship, she said.
She said she chose St. John as her STAR Teacher because of the IB English teacher’s professionalism and because she “pushes” her students to work at a high level.
“She treats her job like it should be treated,” Bressner said.
St. John, who has taught English for 21 years in four counties, taught Bressner in IB English in her junior year. She noted Bressner is ranked first in her class at Douglas County High.
“She has the ability to analyze the most complex pieces of literature,” St. John said.
Bressner also takes classes in upper-level math and has taken classes in French for five years and Spanish for four years, St. John said.
“If (Bressner) gets something she’s passionate about, there’s no telling what she can do,” the teacher said.
Lindstrom, son of Tim and Carol Lindstrom, said he was “really surprised” he won the award. He said he was happy to share it with Bressner because he knew her from his time as an IB student at Douglas County High before his move to Lithia Springs.
The senior called himself “a big computer nerd” and became interested in both computers and gaming after playing computer games with his father while growing up.
He said he planned to attend Georgia Tech and major in computer engineering, which focuses more on computer hardware than on software.
Lindstrom said he chose Lee as his STAR Teacher because the calculus teacher “pushed me” to achieve more than he would without such motivation.
“I’m not always excited about school,” Lindstrom said.
Lee, who is in his fifth year as a teacher, said he was “extremely proud of Brandon.”
“He’s extremely bright in math,” Lee said. “He is extremely logical and analytical. He takes charge of math like I’ve never seen before.”
All county winners will move on to the program’s regional competition with winners from nine other counties March 15 at Griffin Welcome Center in Griffin. The statewide winner will be announced April 24 in Duluth.