STAR student Marisa Woo said she modeled her spirit of helping others after her teacher Chandra Karnati

Although the senior graduate said she had many amazing teachers to choose from who made a positive impact on her life, she said choosing Karnati as her STAR teacher “just felt right”. She took one of his courses for the first time during her junior year. Karnati, who has been with Gainesville High for 13 years, teaches several advanced internship courses, including calculus, computer science, and research.

“I have the feeling that we get along very well with all of the teachers and that he always supports all students,” said Woo. “I just wanted him to know how much I value him.”

When Karnati describes Woo as a “well-rounded student”, he means it in the truest sense of the word.

While juggling many AP classes, Woo has served as president of her school’s Chinese Club, National Honor Society, National Arts Honor Society, Beta Club, Coding Club, and web design team. She has also held positions including Co-President of the President’s Club, Founder of the Student Tutoring Service, and Vice President of the Key Club, Math Club, and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society.

Woo likes to make pottery, paint and tinker with paper and play the piano. During her sophomore year, she traveled to Japan for a music competition.

When asked where her motivation comes from, Woo said that since childhood she has sought to take advantage of any favorable circumstance that gets in her way.

“So if an opportunity presents itself and I don’t give it my all, I’ll let myself down,” she said. “I don’t want to look back and think, ‘Why didn’t I go as far as I could?’ and ‘Why did I stop?’

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