Van Huffel earns STAR Student, chooses Gillies as STAR Teacher


Craig Bardo

January 19, 2022 – STAR Student William Van Huffel and physics teacher Nick Gillies work on a lab during AP Physics II. Van Huffel is an avid student of science who has been supported by Gillies in the subject.

Senior William Van Huffel’s SAT score of 1550 secured his spot as the 2022 STAR Student. He chose physics teacher Nick Gillies as this year’s STAR Teacher.

“[Van Huffel] is just a good all-around student. He puts forth good effort even though it comes to him pretty naturally,” Gillies said. “He’s always processing things as we’re discussing them, and he can provide a quick in-depth explanation with no problems.”

The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program commends the highest achieving high school seniors in Georgia, along with the teachers who were most instrumental in their academic journey. 

A student qualifies for being a STAR student by having the highest SAT score that is also equal to or greater than the SAT national average scores on the evidence-based reading and writing, and math sections.

To qualify for the STAR title, the student’s GPA must also be in the top 10 among students at the end of junior year.

This school year, Van Huffel is taking the Physics C and Physics 2 courses, both taught by Gillies.

“I chose Mr. Gillies because I’ve had more classes with him, and I’ve had more time to bond and get to know him,” Van Huffel said. “He’s had a huge impact on my life.”

According to Gillies, Van Huffel is a well-rounded student who also enjoys the outdoors and is very knowledgeable in social sciences and government, as well as STEM-related subjects.

Van Huffel will represent Starr’s Mill in the competition for Fayette County STAR Student.