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photo/Kyle Frantz Photography 2024 STAR student Charlie Gibbons, the son of Mike and Sue Gibbons, has been a captain of both the football and soccer teams. His hobbies include scuba diving and reading.

Charlie Gibbons named PHS STAR Student

Submitted by Jasper Optimist Club

            Pickens High School Senior Charlie Gibbons has been named the school’s 2024 PAGE STAR Student. The Optimist Club of Jasper, the local STAR program sponsor, announced the honor.

            Gibbons selected Mr. Adam Wharton as his STAR Teacher.   Coach Wharton has taught for 18 years and currently teaches weightlifting in the Health and Physical Education Department at PHS.

            Charlie is the son of Mike and Sue Gibbons. He plans to attend the University of Alabama and pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering. At PHS Charlie has lettered four years in both football and soccer. He was captain of the football team and was named the team’s academic award winner in 2023. Gibbons was also captain of the soccer team in 2022-2023 and was named the MVP of the team in 2023. He is a member of the PHS Beta Club. 

            Gibbons earned his Eagle Scout rank in 2021 and is a Senior Patrol Leader. He is a trumpet player for veterans funerals playing TAPS at services. He was a participant in Pickens Youth Leadership Program in 2023.

            His hobbies include scuba diving, Legos and reading. 

The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 66th year, 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 with their STAR Students at every level of the program.

            Mr. Wharton describes Charlie as “Extremely bright, hardworking and he leads by example and is fun to be around.”

            When Charlie was asked why he chose Coach Wharton as his STAR Teacher, he said “Coach Wharton had the greatest impact on me throughout my high school not only in a physical sense, but he helped me mentally and emotionally mature through his coaching and instruction.

            Coach Wharton pushed me both physically and mentally in the weight room and on the football field. This in turn helped me mature in the aspect of being able to deal with adversity and things not always being easy. I believe that without the lessons that I have had to learn to meet Coach Wharton’s standards I would not be as successful or as prepared as I am today heading into college next year.”

            The Optimist Club of Jasper will recognize Gibbons and Wharton along with nine other STAR Finalist and their selected teachers at the annual STAR banquet. The banquet will be held at Chattahoochee College on Wednesday evening, March 13, 2024, at 7 p.m.

            If you are interested attending the banquet, reservations are required and you can contact Reeder Burch, Optimist Club of Jasper STAR program chairman at


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