2023 Forsyth STAR Students Break Ties and Records in ‘Competitive’ Year


Courtesy @SouthForsythHS

South Forsyth High School’s STAR students go up to receive their awards along with their STAR teachers. They were four of the twenty-three STAR students to come to this event.

Rathna Malapati, Assistant Clubs Editor

“Live your life so that someone may want to write a book about it. Live your life so that every chapter is interesting,” Kevin Tanner, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, said to a full room at the University of North Georgia on Feb. 7. 

Tanner was the guest speaker for PAGE’s (Professional Association of Georgia Educators) Forsyth County Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) event. PAGE invited twenty-three STAR students and teachers as well as their families to a formal banquet at UNG.

STAR students get selected from their school, mainly based on their SAT score, and then move forward to the county level. The winning STAR students at the county level move on to the regional level, and if they are selected, they go to the state level.

The STAR students get to invite a teacher they believe has contributed the most to their academic success as their STAR teacher. 

Although the STAR event is annual, this year differed from past years. In only its second year of operation, East Forsyth High School had their first STAR student, Kylene McDonald, and STAR teacher, Kelley Grogan. 

But most notably, 15 STAR students tied in achieving the same SAT score. PAGE was ready to send all 15 students from multiple schools to the regional level before they realized that Denmark high School’s Rohit Senthil broke the 15-way tie for highest SAT score between students from South Forsyth, Forsyth Central and Lambert by earning a perfect 1600 on his SAT.

“I believe that schools have been getting very competitive nowadays, like South Forsyth, Denmark and even Lambert have been becoming more top-notch in competitiveness,” Glenda Santiago, assistant principal of Denmark, stated at the banquet. 

From South Forsyth High School, the four STAR student and teacher pairs were Mohana Malapati and Angela Piszczek, Alexis Foster and Kendall Robinson, Sanika Ainchwar and Stacy Bagwell and Tanush Prathi and Cindy Philpot. This was the first year South Forsyth had four students qualify for PAGE’s STAR Achievement Award, and their accomplishments will inspire a generation of hardworking students.


“I think the important part of being a STAR student is getting to recognize a teacher who really influenced you,” Ainchwar said.

Mohana Malapati, also a STAR student from South, explained why she chose Mrs. Piszczek as her STAR teacher.

“Mrs. Piszczek is an amazing teacher. She always encourages us to ask questions and explains them multiple ways for everyone to be able to understand,” Malapati said.

She mentioned how she believed that Piszczek “deserved the honor” in her short speech during the award ceremony.

Piszczek, who taught Malapati for two years of International Baccalaureate (IB) Biology, watched her grow throughout the years as both a student and a person.

“I’ve taught [Malapati] for two years, and this year, she’s been here more often and was able to help me set up labs for other classes,” Piszczek said. “I thought it was really cool how she earned this award and then chose me as her STAR teacher.”

Tanush Prathi, another STAR student from South, explained how he felt standing next to his fellow STAR students: “Something I enjoyed at the banquet was seeing so many other students from other schools and how passionate they were about their future goals,” Prathi said. “Another important aspect of being a STAR student is pretty much just having the dedication and determination to succeed.”

This year marked a strong academic year for Forsyth County High Schools as many schools were able to send multiple STAR students to the county level.