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Friedman named PHS STAR Student


STARS – Teacher Wil Nix and student Jonathan Friedman.

Submitted by 

Optimist Club of Jasper


Jonathan Friedman has been named the 2017 STAR Student of Pickens High School. The announcement is made by the Optimist Club of Jasper, local sponsor for the Pickens STAR Program. Friedman is the son of Aury and Patti Friedman of Talking Rock. He has selected Mr. Wil Nix as his STAR Teacher.

The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, is administered and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). Since its inception in 1958 the STAR program has honored nearly 26,000 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors

must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.

Friedman plans to attend Northwestern University in Chicago after graduating from PHS in May.  He plans to study engineering. Jonathan states that he selected Mr. Nix as his STAR Teacher “Because he has been the teacher who helped me the most, both through my time at PHS and once I moved to the Advanced Academy.  He has been there for me through that whole time and I feel that I owe much of my position to him.”  

Jonathan is currently dual enrolled and is attending The Advanced Academy of Georgia in Carrollton. He has been a member of the Boy Scouts of America since 2004 and obtained Eagle Scout in 2015. He has participated in several academic competitions including serving as the Math Team Leader at the Berry College Competition from 2010 -2012. He was a member of the Academic Team from 2013 – 2015.  

Friedman has a First-Degree Black Belt in Martial Arts. He was a Governor’s Honor Program Nominee in 2015 and a National Merit Commended Scholar. At PHS he is a member of the PHS Beta Club and was a member of the Travel Club from 2013 to 2015. He is currently on the Advanced Academy Senior Committee and the Advanced Academy Yearbook Committee. 

Mr. Nix has taught for 11 years and is currently the chair of the English department at PHS. He also serves as the Travel Club sponsor, Academic Club sponsor, Governor’s Honors coordinator, and the SAT teaching coordinator for PHS. Mr. Nix is married to Laura Nix.  

When asked to describe his STAR student, Nix said, “Jonathan is a unique blend of talent, competitiveness, and compassion. He strives for excellence, but not at the cost of others. I witnessed this when I met him working in the school store. He came in every day and put on his apron and got to work. He had no reward to strive for at the time, but was committed to serving others and assisting Ms. Jessica Adams.  He worked hard every day and always with a smile.”

The teacher went on to say about Jonathan, “He is not afraid to sacrifice to achieve.  He challenged himself and moved to West Georgia. He avoided the easy path. I admire that in him.”

Each year the Optimist Club asks the STAR students and teachers to complete a questionnaire. Responses from all STARS will be in a later edition of the Pickens County Progress.  

The Optimist Club of Jasper will host the annual STAR banquet on Thursday evening, March 9 at 7 p.m. at Chattahoochee Technical College, 100 Campus Drive, Jasper, Georgia. Anyone interested in attending the banquet should email the Optimist Club at  Reservations are required and tickets are $24 per person.  The Woodbridge Inn, who has catered the Optimist STAR program since the first banquet, will again cater this year’s banquet.

Carrie McCurdy, the PHS STAR Student in 2000, will be the guest speaker for this year’s banquet.


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