Darlington senior Arnold Miao (‘19) has been named the 2019 Darlington STAR Student. Miao selected Kelly McDurmon, a history teacher at Darlington School, as his STAR Teacher.
Arnold Miao has taken 16 AP and Honors courses. He was inducted into the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica as a sophomore and Mu Alpha Theta as a junior. He has won a number of awards as a writer, including the Silver Key for the Georgia Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and was a National Poetry Society High School Poetry Contest Topical Winner. Mao has contributed poetry to the Darlington Inkslinger and has won a number of trophies for his performances on the ocarina and Chinese gourd flute, both of which he has played since sixth grade. He has been involved in wrestling and cross country at Darlington and currently serves on the Community Service Committee and coordinates community brunch events. Miao is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ki Hong Miao and is from Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong.
“Before I came to Darlington, I’d been a chronic underachiever and suffered from a severe lack of self confidence,” said Miao. “The award is very significant to me as a symbol of how far I’ve gotten since beginning my high school career in the U.S. I chose Mr. McDurmon as my STAR Teacher because I’ve known him since my freshman year and we’ve developed a relationship that stretches beyond simple academics. He was my wrestling coach while I was still on the team and he happily helped me host the mixed martial arts club I founded this year. It was nice timing that the award’s presentation coincided with the assembly right after his triumph in the wrestling state championship.”
McDurmon has taught history and coached wrestling at Darlington since 2004. He is also an assistant cross country coach and has previously coached middle school football. McDurmon holds a B.A. from Berry College. Before Darlington, he taught and coached at Rockmart High School, his alma mater.
“Arnold is a student that motivates me to be on top of my game, well read, and prepared to debate,” said McDurmon. “I must admit that more than once I had to respond to one of Arnold's questions with ‘I am not sure but I will get back to you on that tomorrow.’ He is inquisitive, curious, and cantankerous. Arnold is combative, argumentative and respectful and always questions the legitimacy of information. He feeds on ’but what ifs’ and he investigates before forming an opinion. Arnold recognizes bias and point of view when studying history. Arnold has an expansive vocabulary and he writes very well. Arnold is a once in decade type student that all of the kids respect and the teacher appreciates because of the level of intellect, hard work and love of learning.
Locally, the STAR Students and their selected STAR Teachers are honored by their schools and recognized by the Rome Floyd Chamber, which serves as the local sponsor of the STAR program. Students then compete for local school system titles, and those winners move on to compete for regional honors.
The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 60th year, is sponsored, administered and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). Since its creation by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in 1958, the STAR program has honored nearly 26,000 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. To obtain the 2018 STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.