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July 2020
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Hamilton named 2020 STAR Student

star student Hamilton-STAR

Pickens High STAR Student Nathan Hamilton. He selected Keith Petty as the STAR Teacher.

Submitted by Pickens Optimist Club


Pickens High School senior Nathan Hamilton has been named the school’s 2020 PAGE STAR Student. The Optimist Club of Jasper, the local STAR program sponsor, announced the honor. Hamilton selected Mr. Keith Petty as his STAR Teacher. Petty has taught for 25 years and currently teaches Literature and Composition at PHS.

Nathan is the son of Greg and Kim Hamilton of Jasper, earned the recognition as the STAR Student for academic achievement and performance on the SAT.  


       The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program is sponsored, administered and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). Since its inception in 1958 the STAR program has honored nearly 29,500 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. High school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average to qualify for STAR nomination. 

STAR begins each year in participating Georgia high schools when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program. Students then compete for school system recognition as the top STAR Student, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners contend for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student. STAR Teachers continue on with their STAR Students at every level of the program. 

Mr. Petty says that “Nathan is an ambitious and extremely self-disciplined young man. He sets high achievement standards for himself, and he then works diligently to adhere to those standards and reach the utmost quality and best possible outcome in every situation. He does this while also constantly seeking to improve himself and be even better in the next endeavor than in the previous endeavor. This is true whether writing an essay or rehearsing for the next PHS stage production. That is Nathan the scholar and entertainer.”

Mr. Petty goes on to say that “Nathan the person complements the scholar and entertainer impeccably.  Nathan the person does not boast of accomplishment or elevate himself above others. Instead, he accepts his outstanding qualities with dignified humility. He extends courtesy and friendliness to classmates and teachers alike. He is good-hearted, considerate, personable, engaging and likeable. In addition, Nathan’s faith in God and Christ creates within him the heart of a servant. Thus, besides giving attention to his own goals, he extends himself to help others in their times of need or to assist them with their own goals.”

When Nathan was asked why he selected Mr. Petty as his STAR Teacher, Nathan says that  “I have been blessed with many wonderful teachers in my time as a Pickens student, but when it came time for me to choose my STAR Teacher, there was no way I could have passed up an opportunity to show how much Mr. Petty has meant to me. I first met Mr. Petty at the old Jasper Middle School, where he taught me in his honors eighth-grade literature class. Every year since then, we have spent at least one semester together, either creating the yearbook in journalism or in an AP lit course. Over this five-year period, I have found in him a wealth of endless knowledge, an incredible writing coach, and above all, a wonderful friend. I am honored to have the opportunity to choose such an outstanding man, leader, and teacher as Mr. Keith Petty.”

Nathan has been involved in several activities at PHS including the International Thespian Society where he took part in 11 productions and serves as secretary of the society this year. He is also on the PHS yearbook staff and he says, “Some of my hardest and best work has been a result of my involvement with the yearbook staff.”  

Hamilton participated in the Youth Leadership Program through the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce, has been a member of the BETA Club since the sixth grade and currently serves as the BETA Club president at PHS. He is a member of the Boy Scouts of America where he has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Nathan says that the Eagle Scout program “has taught me principles of hard work, perseverance, and long-term commitment. My project for the rank of Eagle was the revitalization of an abandoned city park, during which I worked closely with the county commissioner and leaders of the local Rotary Club.”

The Optimist Club will recognize Hamilton and Petty at the annual STAR Banquet on Thursday evening, February 27. The banquet will be held at Chattahoochee College at 7 p.m. If you would like to attend the banquet, reservations are required and can be made by emailing the Optimist Club at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  The cost of the banquet is $25 per person.

Ms. Nicole McArthur, a 2004 graduate of PHS and an attorney, will be the guest speaker for the 2020 STAR Banquet.

In addition to the STAR Student and Teacher, the Optimist Club will also recognize an additional nine STAR Student and Teacher Finalists. 


Student Finalist, Teacher Finalist


Corrie Eidson, Lisa Payne

Adam Hunt, Christi Hobgood

Colby James, Wil Nix

James Joiner, Tonya Russo

Nathan McEntire, Christine Westbrook

Peyton Schmidt, Seana Thompson

CJ Streicher, Kyle Rasco

Mason Watkins, Kathy Daymude

Matt Webb, Lynn Cantrell