Out of 23 students throughout Northwest Georgia, Varshney, a senior at Rome High School, was named Region 1 STAR Student at the 2013 STAR Student and Teacher banquet hosted by the Seven Hills Rotary Club at Coosa Country Club. Her STAR teacher, Mary Holcomb, will accompany her to the state STAR Banquet in Atlanta on April 28.
“It is truly an honor for a STAR student to be chosen in their school and in their region,” said Allene Magill, executive director of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. “It’s certainly a celebration of student achievement, but it’s also a celebration of great teaching in the classroom throughout the state.”
Varshney said she plans to pursue biomedical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“I’d like to go on into pre med so I can be a physician and touch lives that way,” she said.
Of her STAR Teacher, Varshney said Holcomb is constantly inspiring her students to better themselves.
“Mrs. Holcomb is absolutely remarkable, she inspires her students each and every day,” she said. “This year with her I’ve learned calculus, but I’ve learned even more about life. I go to her to talk about everything. Every day with her is an absolute blessing.”
Holcomb likewise said having taught Varshney was an unexpected blessing in her life.
“I’ve been teaching many, many, many years and I’ve taught thousands and thousands of students,” said Holcomb. “I’ve taught many students that are brilliant. I’ve taught many students that were beautiful and I’ve taught students that care about their fellow man. But I’ve never taught one student that embodied all of those qualities, but that would be Juhi.”
But Varshney doesn’t always have her nose in the books. Holcomb said her STAR Student is constantly looking for ways to improve herself, others and her world.
“She really cares about other people,” she said. “She single-handedly started the Bear Club at our school. She started the recycling. She single-handedly did the campaign for anti-bullying at our school.”
For 55 years, the STAR program has recognized the state’s outstanding students and teachers, Magill said, with the purpose of recognizing achievement in Georgia schools, to honor excellence in teaching and to demonstrate the business community’s commitment to excellence in education. Varshney and Holcomb embody each of those characteristics, she said.
Varshney, who is Rome High School’s valedictorian, was also named Youth of the Year in the area of academics by the Noon Optimist Club as well as the Exchange Club’s Youth of the Year.
“She’s a remarkable young lady,” Holcomb said. “It’s been an amazing blessing to teach her and to know her.”