Six in Vicksburg named STAR teachers, students

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Three Vicksburg schools have named STAR students and teachers.

Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition is a yearly scholarship program sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council and its M.B. Swayze Educational Foundation.

A STAR Student is the senior with the highest ACT score who has met the minimum requirements — at least a score of 25 on the ACT, a college entrance exam, and a 93 average taken from scores from the ninth, 10th, 11th and first-semester 12th grades. The students will go on to compete for the top 20 STAR Student spots, called All-STAR Scholastic Scholars.

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The top All-STAR scholar in the state will receive a $24,000 Kelly Gene Cook Sr. scholarship. The first runner-up will receive $20,000, and the second runner-up will receive $16,000.

Each STAR student also selects a teacher he or she  feels has influenced his or her education. Each teacher of the All-STAR Scholastic Scholars will receive $500.

A recognition ceremony for the 2009-2010 nominees will be April 5 in Jackson.

In the Vicksburg Warren School District, Warren Central and Vicksburg high schools have named STAR teachers and students. St. Aloysius, the high school of the parochial Vicksburg Catholic School has also named its STAR representatives. Porters Chapel Academy, a private school, will not name STAR recipients until after February tests, guidance counselor Lynn Baker said.

St. Aloysius

Student: Luke Burnett

Teacher: Eleanor Phillips

Luke, the son of Robert and Clare Burnett, is president of the National Honor Society and captain of the varsity football and basketball teams. He is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, a math honor society, and the St. Aloysius Retreat and Liturgical teams.

Luke was the recipient of the University of Rochester Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award. He plans to attend the University of Mississippi and study medicine.

Luke chose math teacher Eleanor Phillips as his STAR teacher. Phillips, who has a bachelor’s in math education, was St. Al’s Teacher of the Year in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Vicksburg High

Student: Allison East

Teacher: Edward Wong

Allison, the daughter of Kevin and Melanie East, is president of the student council. She is a member of Key Club and Mu Alpha Theta. She will act in the school’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” and volunteers at Hopping H Ranch, helping children learn to ride horses.

She will attend Louisiana Tech University, where she received a full scholarship. She plans to study history and political science with a minor in journalism.

Wong, who holds a bachelor’s and master’s in history from the University of Southern Mississippi, is a 31-year teaching veteran. He was the Mississippi Milken Educator of the Year in 1992 and Mississippi State Teacher of the Year in 1987.

He has been a STAR Teacher five times.

Warren Central

Student: Bradley P. Scurria

Teacher: Virginia McElwee

Bradley, the son of Phil and Cindy Scurria, is planning to attend Louisiana State University.

He is a member of the varsity football team, Quiz Bowl team and Mu Alpha Theta. He is a percussionist in the Big Blue Band. Bradley is co-president of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church youth group and is part of Service Over Self, a volunteer home-repair group.

He chose English instructor Virginia McElwee as his STAR teacher. McElwee, who has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, has been teaching for 27 years, 18 of those at Warren Central. She has been a National Board Certified Teacher for eight years. She sponsors the school’s newspaper and the Warren Central National Honor Society.

Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at