STAR Student and STAR Teacher: Andy Chinuntdet and Luke Burch
Congratulations to Anderson (Andy) Chinuntdet, a student at MHS, and Luke Burch, a teacher at MHS, for being recognized as a Georgia STAR student and teacher.
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program honors Georgia’s highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development.
Since its creation in 1958 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) Program has honored nearly 26,000 high school seniors who have in turn chosen their STAR Teachers to share in this recognition.
To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on any single test date of the SAT taken through the November test date of their senior year and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
“This award means a lot to me; it’s more than just something I can put on my resume,” Andy explained. “My favorite thing about it is that I got to honor a teacher who’s been so influential in my school work and life the past couple years.”
In addition to his academic success, Andy has also played basketball for three years, he serves as the president of the National Honor Society, he volunteers to plan and manage events for elementary students at his church, and he serves as a student leader in his youth group.
Andy plans to attend Georgia Tech next year and study aerospace engineering, as he aspires to pursue a career at NASA, SpaceX, or Lockheed after college.
Andy’s teachers describe him as a rare student who combines great intelligence with a hard work ethic while remaining humble and always willing to help anyone.
“Andy not only works hard and, through his hard work, earns incredible grades and scores on tests but he also exemplifies our MHS values,” said Mr. Burch, Andy’s physics teacher. “He is reflective; humble, willing to help others, and always striving to do his best.”
Each high school STAR student is asked to name his/her STAR teacher, and Mr. Burch, a physics teacher at MHS, was honored that Andy nominated him for the prestigious recognition.
Andy says he nominated Mr. Burch because he helped to make one of the hardest classes for students, manageable and enjoyable for students, while also caring about their wellbeing inside and outside the classroom.
“He isn’t just a good teacher; he’s an amazing man,” Andy said. “He’s taught me how to manage my time well, take good notes quickly, and think outside the box to solve difficult problems. He’s also inspired me to be a better person and a harder worker in all aspects of my life.”
Mr. Burch says that seeing the excitement and getting high fives from a physics student who didn’t understand a concept, but then worked with the concept more and got it, are his favorite moments as a teacher at MHS.
“Every day as teachers we strive to touch students’ lives and make an impact,” Mr. Burch explained. “Often times we do not get to see the fruits of our labor, but occasionally for each of us, we get a glimpse that our work is impacting students. I am no different than the rest of the teachers here in MCS, simply working hard and doing my best to help shape the future of my students. I am humbled and grateful for each moment such as this where I am able to see that what I am doing is having an impact.”
When asked what he loves most about teaching at MHS, Mr. Burch explained that he loves the diversity that MCS and MHS provide, and he enjoys working with students from all different backgrounds, in all different places educationally, all with different needs.
Locally, STAR students and STAR teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of more than 165 civic organizations and businesses that serve as local STAR sponsors.