A bright star

Senior reflects on her journey to becoming a STARS student


Brianna Henry

Senior Lydia Par and math teacher Jason Adler join on a Google Meet on April 26. Adler is Par’s honored teacher for the STARS program.

SHS’s STARS(Students Tackling Academic Rigor Successfully) students for this year are the top 35 in the 2021 graduating class. In any normal year, the STARS program is difficult for students to get into. The program requires students to have a weighted GPA of 4.0 or above.

“You’re not only averaging As in all your classes, but you’re taking classes that are honors or Dual Credit or AP and still succeeding in those classes,” math teacher Jason Adler said. 

Senior Lydia Par is one of the students who made it into the S.T.A.R.S. program this year. She has not only overcome the normal challenges that students face in their senior year, but also the additional challenges that COVID-19 has brought to all students. 

Par says that overcoming the challenges COVID-19 has brought her has been one of her biggest struggles this year.

“Of course, with COVID and things like that, it’s just hard sometimes to keep a positive attitude about things,” Par said. 

Adler, who is Par’s honored teacher, says that he has seen the ways that COVID-19 has made succeeding in school difficult for all students, including Par. 

“She’s had to adjust how she’s ever done school,” Adler said. “A senior has done school, to some extent, the same way for 11 years. And now, her senior year, she’s got to change everything about how she’s had to learn and how she’s had to organize her schedule throughout the day.” 

However, despite these added challenges, Adler says that he thinks Par has done a great job adapting to the change and continuing to succeed. 

“Anyone who can keep their grades up and keep on top of everything and turn assignments in on time and do well on tests in an environment where, you know, for a while they’re hybrid… I’d say that’s overcoming challenges in and of itself,” Adler said. 

Even though they haven’t known each other long, Par says that Adler has been a big motivator for her to succeed this year. 

Par also says that her friends have been a source of a lot of support and encouragement to push through the challenges she faces. 

“I think it’s important to surround yourself with people that you can rely on,” Par said. “Having study sessions with my friends and whatnot, just helps to ease the not-so-fun parts.” 

Par now has a full ride to IUPUI and plans to major in marketing and management. She thinks that the skills she developed while being a S.T.A.R.S. student at SHS will help her to be more prepared to succeed in college.

“I already have that mindset of staying organized and getting things on time and just knowing what needs to be done,” Par said. “That will come in handy in college because college will be harder and a lot busier than high school.”

Adler also thinks that her hard work and dedication will pay off for her in college and has prepared her for what college is really like.

“I think she’s got a good idea now of the kind of independent responsibility and learning that she’s going to be able to do in college,” Adler said. “I think this is going to be really helpful for her and all the seniors this year who succeeded at transitioning into a college-like atmosphere.”