Scoring the highest on the SAT and being in the top 10 percent of the senior class isn't an easy one-two punch, but Jackson Rabun pulled it off this year. He was recently named this year's STAR student for Thomson High School.
Jackson scored a 1320 on the SAT, earning the title of McDuffie's top student from the Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition program. He said the award was the culmination of much determination and hard work over the years.
STAR student Jackson Rabun poses with his STAR teacher Christy Brown.
"As far as keeping the grades up, it takes a lot of time," Jackson said. "You have to sacrifice some free time every now and then to keep your grades up."
To go along with the honor, Jackson was asked to choose the one teacher who "turned the light bulb on" during his academic career. He chose his 10th and 12th grade English teacher Christy Brown.
The choice of an English teacher was strange to some because of Jackson's affinity for computer science, which he plans to pursue in college.
"It's not so much that he remembers that Macbeth killed Duncan, it's important that he learns to analyze, to synthesize, to look below the surface of things and to make judgments and decisions for himself," Mrs. Brown said of her teaching style that worked well for this year's STAR student.
Jackson has been accepted to Georgia Tech, where English is not the strongest subject on the menu. But Mrs. Brown said the subject never mattered with Jackson. She said his drive to do his best helped him succeed in all areas.
"Students like Jackson make any teacher look good," Mrs. Brown said. "It is not hard to teach the Jackson Rabuns of the world. That is a pure pleasure, and I think that any teacher up here would tell you the same thing."
She added that being chosen as STAR teacher for the third time was one of the highest honors she has received. Mrs. Brown was chosen in 1988 and 1989, but she said the award was especially fulfilling at this point in her career.
"One of the things that is the most gratifying about this particular honor coming at this particular time in my career is that I am two years from retirement," she said. "That is very special to me to feel like I am effective at this point in my career."
Jackson said overcoming the trials of difficult assignments in Mrs. Brown's class have provided him with his most treasured memories of success.
"Her class has been one of the most challenging I've had to take," he said.
Jackson -- described by teachers as a quiet, deep thinker -- is the son of Otis and Mary Rabun of Thomson. He will represent THS as he vies for the regional STAR student title at First Baptist Church in Thomson on March 31.