RJ Devlin '23 and Joseph Cooper selected as STAR student and teacher

Partnership Gwinnett has honored senior Robert “RJ” Devlin as Wesleyan School’s STAR student for the 2022-2023 school year. In turn, Devlin was able to select the teacher who has had the greatest influence on his academic life to be named Wesleyan’s STAR teacher, and he selected Joseph Cooper, modern and classical languages teacher. 
Beyond exemplary academics, Devlin is a member of the math team, literary magazine, debate club, philosophy club (founder), and is active within the theater program. Through his acting roles in “Hello Dolly,” “Little Women,” “Ten Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse,” “Sense and Sensibility,” and “Peter Pan,” he has continued to illustrate curiosity in pursuit of various roles. Not one to limit himself to a singular role, Devlin has also served on the technical team for productions including “Tuck Everlasting” and will serve as an assistant director for “Little Women.” In addition, Devlin serves as a leader on the Honor Council and currently serves as president. Devlin's compassion for his peers and genuine desire that they would have a life-changing shift in perspective if called before the Honor Council, make him an asset to the Council and the larger school community.  

When asked why he selected Mr. Cooper as his STAR teacher, Devlin said, “I chose Mr. Cooper because he truly cares about his students and values learning for its own sake. Mr. Cooper has been my teacher in Latin and mentor on the honor council. As a Latin teacher, he goes beyond translation by bringing his love of history and making the ancient world come alive. On the Honor Council, he strives to maintain Wesleyan’s commitment to integrity. He takes the time to get to know and help students far beyond what is expected. He not only exemplifies Wesleyan’s values but also takes steps to help our community embody them. In his classes, Mr. Cooper guides students to explore material in a deeper way. He is selfless with his time and is committed to his students’ success and well-being. For these reasons, Mr. Cooper is a STAR teacher, and I am lucky to have known him for the last two years.” 

Mr. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Arts in Classics from Davidson College and a Master of Education from the University of Georgia in Educational Leadership. Cooper is in his 22nd year of teaching at Wesleyan School and is committed to contributing to the lives of students. He was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award in 2021 by the Georgia Independent School Association, and this is the third time Cooper has been selected as a STAR teacher! As a classroom teacher, Cooper teaches in both the modern and classical languages department and the English department. This year, he teaches four different Latin classes and one English class. One of Cooper’s most significant involvements is as a sponsor of the Honor Council where he seeks to uphold standards of academic integrity and a love of learning. In addition, Cooper has coached volleyball since 2006 and currently is the assistant coach for the seventh grade team. This spring Cooper will again serve on a mission trip and will travel with students to serve in Rome, Italy. Cooper’s passion for teaching and encouragement of students makes him an asset to Wesleyan School. 

The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program is sponsored, administered, and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and the PAGE Foundation. Since its inception in 1958, the STAR program has honored over 28,500 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score in a single sitting on the SAT, taken through the November test date of their senior year, and be in the top 10% or among the top 10 students in their class based on grade point average. Students and their teachers are honored by receiving special recognition in their communities from more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses and will be celebrated at a luncheon on Jan. 26, 2023. 

We are honored to have Robert Devlin and Joseph Cooper represent Wesleyan as our STAR student and teacher. Congratulations to each of them and their families!