Busy weekend showcases Panther excellence

Students in HOSA, FCCLA, world languages, and economics competed all over the state, earning multiple awards, recognitions, and honors.

Courtesy of Hope Via (top), Laura Alldredge (bottom left), and Mark Decourcy (bottom right)

Students in HOSA, FCCLA, world languages, and economics competed all over the state, earning multiple awards, recognitions, and honors.

If you ask Principal Allen Leonard how things are going around the Mill, expect him to answer, “It’s a busy time.” This past weekend proved Leonard’s words true, with Starr’s Mill participating and placing in four separate academic competitions.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America

Starr’s Mill students placed top ten in last weekend’s state FCCLA competition. As a result, two groups will advance to the national competition taking place in Anaheim, California, this summer. Juniors Jenna Sulkowski and Anna Willoughby advanced for the Chapter Website category. Sophomores Paige Grisamore and Jaci Edwards qualified for in the Digital Stories category.

“Paige and I worked together and Mrs. Via told us we made nationals, so we’re really excited about it,” Edwards said. “Our names are in the newspaper, so that’s pretty cool.”

World Language

Foreign language students brought home numerous awards in the State Foreign Language Association’s Spoken Language Competition. In total, Starr’s Mill brought home seven superior awards, three excellent ratings, and one notable finish

“We stress the importance of being able to communicate in a language because at the competition they sit down with a judge, the judge is just another teacher somewhere from the state of Georgia, and have a conversation with that person in the target language,” Spanish teacher and department chair Laura Alldredge said. “[Students] have to be able to talk and answer the questions in that language, so communication skills are hugely important and we work on that in our classes.”


Both the AP/IB Economics Adam Smith Division division and the College Prep David Ricardo Economics division teams placed sixth at this year’s Economics Challenge held in the Federal Reserve.

“It’s a more rigorous preparation, so the kids who participate do some serious studying,” economics teacher Mark Decourcy said. “[Econ Challenge] is another way for people to be exposed to economics. I’ve had kids that have done this in the past who went on to be econ teachers.”

Health Occupations Students of America

Six HOSA members placed at this year’s State Leadership Conference in Atlanta. Senior Cassidy Haycock placed sixth in Dental Terminology. Juniors Monika Pawlowska, Baldo Perez, Nicole Sierra, and Rommy Sierra, and senior Laura Anderson, earned third in Public Service Announcement.  

“I think that we have a large number of different programs available in the building that are incredibly successful and provide our students with opportunities for success,” Principal Allen Leonard said. “With all of those activities, it just further goes to show the quality of the education that our kids get and the quality of opportunities that they have here at Starr’s Mill in all facets of their development.”