Cedartown High School’s Andrew Whitfield cemented his place as 2018’s STAR student with the hard work and tenacity he needs to achieve his dream job.

Boasting the school’s highest SAT score and grades in the top ten percent of his class, the senior is on his way to college where he plans to study computer game design.

“I have been accepted to KSU (Kennesaw State University) where I plan to major in Computer Game Design and Development,” Whitfield shared. “My major motivations are my parents and my dream job.”

The senior’s field of study involves using computing and software engineering techniques to design and produce entertainment, research, and education.

Whether creating a blockbuster game or artificial intelligence, Whitfield will be challenged to apply his computer expertise to create his personal choice of media, but he has a myriad of hobbies outside of his future profession.

“Some of my hobbies include playing electric and bass guitar, playing video games, and construction and metal projects,” Whitfield said.

STAR students are responsible for selecting one of their teachers as the year’s STAR teacher, and Whitfield chose the science department’s Autumn Casey.

“Mrs. Casey’s class was very fun, and her teaching style incites students to learn outside of the classroom,” Whitfield said.

Casey holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Shorter University and a Masters of Education degree from the State University of West Georgia. Currently teaching various fields of science, the long-time educator has over 24 years of experience in front of the class.

“I am so very honored yet humbled to be chosen as STAR teacher,” Casey said. “This is my 25th year teaching, and it is very exciting to see students who enjoy learning as much as Andrew. It is also rewarding to see my students using critical thinking skills to apply what they’ve learned.”

Both Casey and Whitfield were joined in honors during last week’s luncheon by the Rockmart STAR Student and STAR Teacher Taylor McVey and STAR Teacher Jennifer Baker.

“It is really an honor, and I didn’t really think I was going to get it,” McVey said.

McVey, the daughter of Rodney and Michelle McVey, will also be graduating at the top of her class after earning a 1300 on her SAT.

She’s looking to try to go to Vanderbilt University or Emory University, where McVey wants to pursue studies in the medical field.

“I would like to be a pediatric neurologist,” she said.

She said those who want to be STAR students themselves only need to focus on one thing: study hard.

“They need to work hard if they want to get this award,” she said.

Along with awards handed out by the Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Blair Elrod and 2018 Chamber board chair Elizabeth Walls, Polk Medical Center also gave students gift bags to take when them onward to college in the future.

Whitfield will go on to represent Polk School District’s STAR Student for the system.

Editor Kevin Myrick contributed to this report.