The Akron Beacon Journal publishes its Star Students special section each spring to recognize high school seniors in Summit, Stark, Medina, Portage, Wayne and southern Cuyahoga counties.

Guidance counselors selected the students based on scholarship and participation, along with leadership in school and community activities. This year, each high school could nominate two seniors. A panel of three judges selected the Top 25 Star Students from a field that had been narrowed to 50 semifinalists by Mary Beth Breckenridge, staff writer for the Beacon Journal; and Tara Kerscher, Newspaper in Education coordinator for the Beacon Journal.

The three judges who selected the Top 25 Star Students were: Yuvonne Bruce, deputy metro editor for the Beacon Journal; Rich Stallsmith, deputy sports editor for the Beacon Journal, and David Jennings, director of the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

Each student was asked to complete a questionnaire as part of the nomination process. Judges used the answers to learn a little more about each nominee in making their selections, and those responses appear with photos of the Top 25 students in this section.

The Star Students section is produced by the Beacon Journalís newsroom. Leading the effort was Cheryl Powell, metro editor.