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Westerfield is Pike’s star

Stellar accomplishments are not new to Zack Westerfield, but now he can claim to be a STAR ‘“ STAR student of Pike County High School. He chose math teacher Jonathan O’Steen to share celestial status with him. The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program distinguishes seniors in each Georgia high school who has the highest score in a single sitting of the Scholastic Aptitude Test taken through the November test date of their senior year and who are in the top 10% of their class. Students can score a possible 2400. The test includes three sections: critical reading, mathematics and an essay. Westerfield scored 2030, the highest in his class. He took the test three times. He said the math part was easy but the critical reading portion was more of a challenge, especially the vocabulary. ’You definitely have to get used to it. It’s hard to make your best score the first time,’ he said. Each STAR student is asked to name a STAR teacher. This is the first time in his 10 years of teaching O’Steen has been chosen. O’Steen’s instruction and its lasting impact on Westerfield’s math performance led him to choose his former geometry teacher. ’He was my first math teacher in high school and got me started on the right path,’ Westerfield said. He scored 750 points of the 800 possible on the SAT. A product of Pike schools since kindergarten, math is his favorite subject. ’Zack is the best you can ask for. He answered the questions and always set the right example,’ said O’Steen. He received admission to both the U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Naval Academy and has an outstanding academic record. He completed over 200 hours of community service and obtained Eagle Scout status as a Boy Scout. Not only does Westerfield exhibit academic prowess, he is an exceptional, all-around athlete. In his junior year he was PCHS’ first Iron Pirate, an athletic achievement which puts strength, speed, agility and flexibility to the test. He was the varsity football captain for 2009, helping lead the Pirates football team to its winningest season. He was presented the Highest GPA Award at the annual Gridiron banquet in January, having a 4.11 grade point average. He was one of eight members chosen by the coaches of Region 5AA for the First All-Region Team, and was a nominee for the Wendy’s Heisman, chosen by the organization to represent Pike in judging. He also plays baseball and runs track. He set goals for himself, spending much time at school and remaining after school for weight training. He is a member of the Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, the math club and student council and president of the National Honor Society. He is taking AP calculus. He has taken part in the FFA. O’Steen, who coaches the math club, said Westerfield would be captain of the team if such a spot existed. Westerfield was chosen this year’s recipient of the Principal’s Leadership Award by principal Scott John. ”He’s a natural born leader, not just in class, but in the weight room and on the football field. He just has a gentle way about things,” O’Steen said. He was ecstatic when he learned Westerfield chose him to be his STAR teacher. ”His little sister Maria is right behind him and she had better choose me, too,” O’Steen said. Of his parents Carmen and Robert, Westerfield said, “They were very encouraging toward studies and schoolwork.” ”They’re model parents,” O’Steen added. “Having spoken to his mother on several occasions, she takes academics very seriously.” In his spare time, Westerfield likes to play his guitar, hunt, fish and play football. ”Anything outside, really,” he said. He also tutors another student in math. His love of the outdoors may influence his decision about college. He has visited the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and said he was impressed with their engineering department. Westerfield plans to major in systems or mechanical engineering. However, when he visits the Air Force Academy later this month and finds the engineering department of the same caliber, he will choose the Air Force because of its location at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Westerfield would like to take advantage of snow skiing there. O’Steen said Westerfield is one of the standout students of his career. Westerfield and O’Steen can attend the state Professional Association of Georgia Educators STAR Banquet, held in Atlanta this spring. At this banquet, the region winners and all local winners attending are recognized.

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