Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Georgia Wu ('22) named STAR Student, selects Kuckhoff as STAR Teacher
Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Rome, GA
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Wu (’22) named STAR Student, selects Kuckhoff as STAR Teacher

February 14, 2022 | 542 views

Darlington senior Mason Wu has been named the 2022 Darlington STAR Student. Wu selected physics teacher Barbara Kuckhoff as his STAR Teacher. 

Wu has taken 17 AP and Honors classes, and is a member of the Robotics Team, Math Club, and president of the Virtual Physics Club. He also serves as a Student Council representative.

During the summer after his freshman year, he attended Columbia University's Summer Immersion Program and completed the course "Computer Programming for Beginners: Coding in Java." The summer following his junior year, he completed the course "Engineering Innovation" as an online student of Johns Hopkins University School of Engineering.

He has made the Headmaster's List each year at Darlington, and was awarded the E.L. Wright Award for the highest GPA in an AP/Honors class in six different classes. He has been a state qualifier in the First Tech Challenge for the past four years and qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination in 2021. Additionally, he placed in the top 30 out of 1,595 participants at the KSU Math Competition in 2020. Wu is the son of Mr. Guojun Wu and Mrs. Zhi Wang and is from Xi'an, China.

"I selected Mrs. Kuckhoff as the STAR Teacher because she is a caring teacher who gives advice and guidance beyond the classroom," said Wu. "To me, she has always been a mentor for her infinite passion and dedication to explore the world of physics."

Kuckhoff has been a physics teacher at Darlington since 2017. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. Before Darlington, she held positions in a variety of industrial environments. She is most passionate about nurturing students' interests to pursue careers in science.

"I can always count on Mason to move discussions along in class," said Kuckhoff. "When I ask a question and am met with silence, Mason is always there, ready to jump in. He is always prepared for class, but more than that, he is inquisitive and engaged in whatever we are doing. Mason organized the Virtual Physics Club's presentations in 2020-21, which was especially spectacular considering that so many of us were remote. He was able to deliver a very needed sense of normalcy. Mason inspires me to do more, to do better. "

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 64th 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 30,000 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. To obtain the 2022 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.