Jaden Freeze, who says learning comes naturally to him, was named Richmond Hill High School STAR student Monday.
And, in turn, the musician, Honor Society member and math tutor named Dr. Daniel Kiene, RHHS Wildcat Band director as his STAR Teacher.
Freeze and Kiene were honored at ceremony that attracted administrators, teachers and family. Richmond Hill Lions Club President Rick Gardner and member Mike Bush also attended to help present the award and a $500 scholarship from the club.
Freeze was selected based on his SAT score of 2260 and standing in the top 10 percent of his class.
“I just really like learning, honestly. It comes very naturally” Freeze said, adding that his family, including parents, Marjorie and Jason Freeze, helped make it possible.
“They make sure the logistics line up for everything and provide the environmental tools needed to work,” he said.
His school activities range from playing the French horn in the Wildcat band to being in National Honor Society and serving as a math tutor. He is an Eagle Scout with Troop 400 and is part of the Teen Life Team at Saint Anne’s Catholic Church of Richmond Hill.
Freeze is a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, AP scholar with honor, Georgia marching-band series grand champion, just to name a few of his accolades.
After graduation, Freeze will go to the second of a two-summer internship with U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland, where he will spend five weeks “collaborating with researchers in various agriculture fields.”
He’s scheduled to start classes in August at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
His mother said she is excited for him.
“I’m glad he had opportunity here in Richmond Hill, but am excited to see him spread his wings and fly,” Marjorie Freeze said.
Freeze said he chose Kiene because of how the band director had mentored him over the years, and welcomed him when he was adjusting to high school.
For his part, Kiene said Freeze added to his career.
“When you have tough days as an educator, it is students like Jaden that pull you through,” Kiene said. “You can actually see you’re making a difference. He is really talented in so many areas, and he is insanely smart.”
Kiene said he was humbled and grateful to receive the honor.