(Media release from the Rome City Schools):

Two new portraits will be added to Rome High School’s honorary hall of STARs as senior Anna Davidson and chemistry teacher Kelly Goldin have been named the STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) student and teacher for 2022.

Assistant Principal Dr. Suzanne Morse, who also manages the Advanced Placement (AP) Program and the National Merit Program for RHS, explained the criteria for becoming a STAR student, “Becoming a STAR Student is done at the district level and then moves to the state level. To do that, Anna had to be the student in our school with the highest SAT score.”

Davidson scored an impressive 1570 on her SATs. Morse affirmed that Davidson’s score was 150 points higher than any other score, school-wide.

“I’m proud that the hard work I have put in has paid off,” Davidson said.

Morse explained that once a student has been selected for STAR student, they are notified first and then have the opportunity to select a teacher that has had a very notable impact on their success as a student.

Davidson said it has greatly impacted her to see the passion with which Goldin teaches her students, not to mention the support that she offers.

“She’s always been very supportive of me and always been there for me,” Davidson said. “She is someone that I know that I can go to if I need guidance for something, or if I just want to talk.”

“She’s a wonderful teacher,” Morse agreed, “always above and beyond. She had a baby this year and before she went on maternity leave, she recorded lessons for every single day, every single subject. That’s just the kind of teacher she is. Anna made a wonderful choice.”

Goldin said that she feels much excitement for Davidson and is very humbled by her choice, “Anna is one of the most hard working, intelligent, responsible and kind students that I’ve ever taught. Knowing that she thinks I attributed even a little bit to her success really means a lot.”

Goldin’s dedication is evident as this is the second time she has been chosen as STAR teacher, having earned the recognition in 2020.

“For me, I think it’s important, obviously, that the students learn the content, that’s why they’re here,” Goldin said, “but I also think it’s important for students to know that they are cared about and loved. I try to show that to them by doing everything I can to make learning a stress-free and fun environment for them.”

With the support of individuals like Goldin, Davidson looks toward a future full of possibilities.

“I’m not sure where I want to go to school yet,” she explained. “I know that I want to do marine biology or environmental science, or some combination of the two. I’d like to incorporate journalism into that as well.”

No matter what she may decide, her options will be endless as Davidson has committed to prioritizing her academics.

Morse explained that Davidson is also a semifinalist in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. She has the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered this spring.

“Through part of that process, I had to look through her transcript and her grades,” Morse explained. “We offer 27 AP classes at Rome High School and she has taken 21 of those. All of her grades are excellent and we are very very proud.”

“Anytime a teacher and a student come together, it’s a really powerful thing,” RHS Principal Dr. Eric Holland said.

He gestured to the long hallway of past STAR student/teacher portraits as he added, “That whole wall is a symbol of positive relationships. It’s the beauty of the job; getting to watch students recognize teachers and watch teachers smile because they support their students. That’s what it’s about at the end of the day.”