Eight from Vicksburg nominated for academic awards|[04/09/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Eight Vicksburg youths and educators have been named STAR students and teachers for the 2007-2008 school year.

About 250 high school seniors and as many from across the state were selected based on their ACT scores and scholastic averages for grades 10 through 12. The students must have scored at least 25 on the ACT and have at least a 93 average.

STAR, which stands for the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program, aims to encourage academic excellence. This year was the 42nd for the program, sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council and its M.B. Swayze Education Foundation. Last year’s top 20 recipients, called ALL-STAR Scholars, were awarded about $70,000 in scholarships. No Vicksburg students were named ALL-STARs.

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As part of the program, each student selects a STAR Teacher, retired or active, who has influenced his or her education. The teachers selected by the top three ALL STAR Scholars last year received $500 each. The remaining 17 received $250.

This year’s students and teachers will be honored and the ALL-STAR Scholars will be named Friday at Mississippi College. The local nominees:

Kelly R. HamiltonPorters Chapel Academy

Kelly, the daughter of David and Robin Hamilton, is a member of National Honor Society, Key Club and Student Council. The 17-year-old plans to attend Mississippi State University and study engineering and accounting.

Kelly’s STAR Teacher is Porters Chapel math teacher and assistant head master Frances Warren. Warren received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Mississippi State University. A teacher for eight years, she was named a STAR Teacher in 2006 and, locally, a 2004 Teacher of the Year.

Christopher P. RabalaisSt. Aloyisus High School

Christopher, the 18-year-old son of Conrad and Patricia Rabalais, is a member of the football, track and field, Quiz Bowl and math and science teams at St. Aloysius. He was the winner of the Kodak Young Leader Award and the 2008 Virgadamo Award, was named a 2007 National Scholar Athlete and was a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha and Key Club. He was also co-editor of his school’s yearbook in 2007 and became an Eagle Scout in 2005. Christopher plans to attend Louisiana Tech University and study civil engineering.

Christopher’s STAR Teacher is St. Al algebra and calculus instructor Eleanor Phillips. She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Mississippi State University. This is the third time Phillips, who has taught for 17 years, has been named a STAR Teacher.

Ricky TiwariVicksburg High School

Ricky, the 17-year-old son of Dr. Tapan Tiwari and Chunmun Tiwari, has won awards in English III, pre-calculus, advanced algebra and trigonometry during his career at Vicksburg High. He plans to attend Mississippi College and study biology.

Ricky’s STAR Teacher is math instructor Stephen Doyle Brown. Brown has a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree in secondary education from Alcorn State University. He has taught for 25 years. He was a nominee for the 2007 Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year.

Steven B. WorleyWarren Central High School

Steven, the son of Jeff and Penny Worley, is a member of the school’s Beta Club, Chess Club, National Honor Society, First Priority, Mu Aplha Theta, History Club and Student Council. He is also the secretary of Excalibur. The 17-year-old plans to attend the University of Mississippi and study law.

Steven’s STAR Teacher is math educator Cheryl Ashby. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi and a specialist degree in education from Louisiana State University. Ashby, who has been teaching for 21 years, was chosen as the 1978 SECA Teacher of the Year in Georgia and was locally named the 2001 Chamber of Commerce Secondary Teacher of the Year.