Get Adobe Flash player

Kilpatrick named 2016 STAR Student


     Hannah Kilpatrick has been named the 2016 STAR Student of Pickens High School. The announcement is made by the Optimist Club of Jasper, local sponsor for the Pickens STAR Program.  Kilpatrick is the daughter Rex and Beverly Kilpatrick of Jasper. She has selected Mrs. Christine Westbrook as her STAR Teacher.

    The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 58th year, is sponsored, administered and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation. Since its inception, the STAR Program has honored more than 25,500 students and the teachers they have selected as having the most influence on their academic success.  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.
    Kilpatrick plans to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN after graduation  and major in Biomedical Engineering.  Hannah selected Mrs. Westbrook as her STAR Teacher because “AP Biology has been my favorite class at PHS and this is largely thanks to Mrs. Westbrook.  She has challenged me and made me think and discover new things on my own.” 
    She went on to say “The most important lesson I learned from Mrs. Westbrook had nothing to do with biology. I still remember her warning at open house that this class wasn’t necessarily difficult, but you had to develop good time management skills to do well. Mrs. Westbrook went above and beyond what was required of her as our biology teacher. She not only managed to help us walk away with a thorough understanding of the subject, but also tried to teach us about life and gave us lessons we could carry with us long after the 10th grade.”
    Hannah is a member of the Pride of Pickens Marching Band. This past season she served as the Secretary and Co-Pit Captain.  She is the President of the PHS Beta Club and is the Senior Class Treasurer.  She is a member of the Academic Team and was a participant in the Youth Leadership Program through the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce.  Hannah enjoys playing the piano and is currently a student under the supervision of Patti Adams.
    Mrs. Westbrook teaches AP Biology at Pickens High School.  She has taught for 22 years.  When asked how she would describe Hannah, Mrs. Westbrook said “The list of accolades I could use to describe Hannah is lengthy, and would include things like brilliant, dedicated, responsible, hard-working, leader, etc… and every one of those terms is absolute truth. But more importantly I would have to include what a true pleasure it was having her in my class, not just because of all the things listed above, but because of her smile and attitude. She came to class every day with the biggest smile. It never mattered if she was having a bad day; if the work was really hard or if there were assignment deadlines looming, she was always there with that incredible smile. In that smile, she not only demonstrated confidence and a positive outlook on life, she also exhibited a joy in life itself. Those qualities are so rare among persons her age. Her smile was absolutely infectious and no matter what, it improved each and every day for me. Hannah, with her beautiful smile and positive attitude made me want to be a better person and teacher.”
    Mrs. Westbrook is married to Ricky Westbrook and they have two sons – ages 9 & 15.  Both sons are involved in sports and activities and she and her husband spend time enjoying and helping with their activities.  She served for several years as the Beta Club Sponsor.  She is a member of the Free Hope Church.
    Each year the Optimist Club ask 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, February 25. The banquet will be held 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.       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 years’ banquet.
    Mr. Cory Watson, the PHS STAR Student in 2004, will be the guest speaker for this year’s banquet.
    For over 25 years the Optimists have recognized the PHS STAR Student and Teacher along with nine STAR Finalists with the largest and most unique local STAR Banquet in this statewide program.  In the local program, the Optimists not only recognize the STAR Student and Teacher, but an additional nine STAR Student and Teacher Finalists. 
The 2016 STAR
Finalists are

Student: Anne Brown-Goolsby
Teacher: Leah VanDoren Cohen

Student: Sadie Cornett
Teacher: Ted Estes

Student: Christopher Densmore
Teacher: Rhonda Lane

Student: Chris DiPuma   
Teacher: Pam Parker

Student: Logan Fountain   
Teacher: Gail Culbreth

Student: Kayla Low      
Teacher: Michael Oubre

Student:Austin Massey 
Teacher: KellyMcArthur

Student: Ginny Morris  
Teacher: Christi Hobgood

Student:Andres Torres       
Teacher: Tonya Russo