Seminole County Middle/High School has announced James Harris Palmer, III (Jay) as the 2021 STAR Student and Tina Fain as his STAR teacher. Jay, who has been a student in the Seminole County School System since he started pre-K in 2007, commented, “I am honored to be the 2020-2021 SCMHS STAR Student and thank my school, my teachers, my family, and everyone who has played a part in helping me achieve this honor.”
Jay is a member of the National Honor Society and has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his high school career while taking many AP, Honors and dual enrollment classes. Jay has been a member of the varsity golf and tennis teams all four years of high school, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Business Leaders of America, and the Pep Club.
After high school, Jay plans to continue his education at Troy University. Jay is the son of Jim and Amanda Palmer.
Jay has had many wonderful teachers at Seminole County over the years. After much consideration he chose Tina Fain to be his Star Teacher. Mrs. Fain was Jay’s science teacher in the fourth grade and his Explo teacher for several years. However, over the years Mrs. Fain has been so much more than just Jay’s teacher at school. Mrs. Fain has been like family to Jay since he moved to Donalsonville when he was two.
She has been his tennis coach for the last four years always pushing him to be his best on and off the courts. She has also been a Sunday School teacher and youth leader for him at church helping to guide him in his personal and spiritual life. According to Jay, “Mrs. Fain is one of those teachers everyone loves. She makes learning fun. She takes the time to get to know each of her students and truly wants to see all of us succeed. Mrs. Fain has made a difference in the lives of countless Seminole County students over the years.”
Tina Fain graduated from Miller County High School and attended Albany State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in middle grades education and an endorsement in gifted education. Mrs. Fain has taught fourth grade science, fourth grade social studies, middle school English and gifted classes during her career in the Seminole County School System. She has also coached tennis, softball and cheer. She is married to Will Fain and they have two children, Emilee and William, who attend Seminole County High School.
Mrs. Fain comments, “I have had the honor of knowing Jay Palmer since he and his family moved to our community 15 years ago. Therefore, I have had the pleasure of watching him grow into the smart, respectable, hard-working, kind young adult that he is today. Even though I have been in Jay’s life since he was three years old in various capacities, I did not teach Jay in a classroom setting until he was in the third grade. It was at that point that I realized Jay’s intellectual abilities and his strong work ethic. Jay never shied away from participating in class and always thought outside the box. During Jay’s high school career, I have had the privilege of coaching him in tennis. Again, his strong work ethic and winning spirit proved to be a great asset. Proud does not adequately describe my feelings toward Jay being Star Student. It is one thing to have the capability, but another to know how to apply it and achieve your goals. Privileged is also an understatement on my feelings toward Jay selecting me as Star Teacher. I appreciate this honor as I have been privileged to be on this academic journey with him. I cannot wait to see the things he accomplishes going forward”.
Mr. Shane Purdy, Principal, shares, “The STAR recognition program was created to focus public attention on Georgia’s outstanding high school students and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. It is indeed an honor for Seminole County to have such deserving students and faculty to support this most prestigious program. We congratulate both Jay and Mrs. Fain on receiving these honors and recognition. One of the many rewards of serving as an administrator is having the opportunity to see students and faculty members honored in such a way as these two are being honored through the STAR program. I am extremely proud of our faculty and student body at Seminole County Middle/High School and humbled to serve in helping prepare the young people of our county with the best possible education in leading them to become our citizens of tomorrow. Congratulations again to Jay, Mrs. Fain, their families and all who have had a part in achieving this highest of honors.”
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program, in its 63rd year, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education. Since its inception, the STAR program has honored thousands of students and the teachers selected on the basis of their SAT scores, class standing and scholastic averages. The STAR student is the graduating senior who has earned the highest SAT score and is in the top 10% of the graduating class.