Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA)’s Malik Saafir and Denice Delk were recognized as a STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) student and STAR teacher by the PAGE Foundation.
Malik, a 17-year-old senior at GCA, received this recognition by having the highest SAT score in his graduating class and for being in the top 10% of his class. He was grateful to receive the recognition, especially since the award took him by surprise.
“Earning the STAR student recognition felt surreal, because I had no idea I had the highest SAT score in my class,” Malik said. “I was ecstatic!”
Malik believes that learning with GCA had a huge impact on his ability to succeed as a student and earn the STAR recognition.
“I think learning with GCA helped me earn the STAR student award because it allowed me to work at my own pace and really focus on my coursework,” Malik said. “Being able to do class work on my own time allowed me to really absorb as much of the lessons as I could.”
Another attribute that led to his success were his great teachers. One specific teacher stood out to Malik, leading him to nominate her as a STAR teacher.
“I nominated Mrs. Delk for STAR teacher because she was patient with me when I was asking her to write numerous recommendation letters, and she cares about her students,” Malik said. “Mrs. Delk takes the time to make sure that we understand the topics in class, rather than just being worried about test scores. It was really nice to meet her in person, and being able to see that she is even more caring and kind than comes across through the computer.”
Mrs. Delk felt honored to receive the award and to be nominated by one of her own students.
“I was so happy and shocked,” Mrs. Delk said. “I cried. To know that I made a difference to this young man through virtual learning was phenomenal.”
Mrs. Delk was extremely proud of Malik for receiving an award that highlighted his hard work and academic success.
“There are over 20,000 virtual students in our district and Malik had the highest SAT score—in one seating—than all of those students,” Mrs. Delk said. “I cannot imagine how he must feel!”
A highlight of the award ceremony for Mrs. Delk was being able to finally meet Malik face to face.
“I am so proud of Malik!” Mrs. Delk said. “I call him my super hero, because I had never met him face-to-face until the STAR luncheon. So it was like he had his super hero mask on until that day when he removed the mask and revealed his true identity. In the virtual world, we do not see our students. It was awesome to finally meet the young man behind the computer!”