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photo/ Kyle Frantz Photography. Pickens High’s STAR Teacher Adam Wharton is in his 18th year in the classroom, 15 of those at PHS.

PROFILE: 2024 PHS STAR Teacher Adam Wharton

Submitted by Jasper Optimist Club 

            Pickens High School Senior Charlie Gibbons has been named the school’s 2024 PAGE STAR Student. He chose Adam Wharton as his STAR Teacher.

            Mr. Wharton is originally from Virginia and is a graduate of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He has a master’s degree from Georgia Southern University in Kinesiology and Coaching.  Wharton received his specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University.

            He is in his 18th year teaching and coaching and this is his 15th year at Pickens High School. He was recognized as a STAR Finalist in 2014. 

            Wharton has coached football and track in his time at Pickens. Since 2010 he has had the privilege of heading up the Weightlifting program at PHS as a teacher in the Health and Physical Education Department PHS.  He is married to Melissa Wharton and they have a son Spencer and another son due in May.

            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.

            More than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program.  Students 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.

            When STAR Student Charlie Gibbons 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 days 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 Tech College  March 13, at 7:00 pm. 

            If you are interested attending, reservations are required. Contact Reeder Burch, Optimist Club of Jasper STAR Program Chairman at  The deadline to make reservations is March 1, 2024.

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