Super STAR: Mateo Byrd recognized as STAR Student for Warren Central High School

Published 1:59 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

Mateo Byrd, a senior at Warren Central High School, was recognized as a STAR Student earlier this month for academic success.

Terry Wong has been Byrd’s swim coach, teacher and mentor for the past six years.

“On the academic side, he has excelled and taken as many Advanced Placement courses as he possibly could, as well as college-level classes,” Wong said.

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STAR, the Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition Program, is sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council and its M.B. Swayze Foundation and is designed to recognize scholastic achievement among high school students. To qualify, students must have a score of 25 or higher on the ACT and an average grade of 93 or higher in all of their courses.

The winner of the STAR award also chooses a teacher they would like to recognize for their hard work helping students. Byrd chose Wong.

“(Wong has) had a pretty big impact on my academic career,” Byrd said. “When I was in 8th grade we got together and he was helping me (figure out) what classes to take and how to kind of plan out my future in high school at the time.”

Wong has also been very helpful in many of Byrd’s extensive extracurricular activities, including the establishment of the student government organization at Warren Central High School last year.

“In my junior year last year, we were trying to start student government, and it all started because (Wong is) our faculty advisor, and so we worked with him to be able to get everything going,” Byrd said. “And he’s just been really great helping us with that.”

Wong recalled how the student government group came about.

“(Byrd) started researching, reached out to several schools that did it, put a whole package together and did a presentation for all of the admin at the end of his junior year,” Wong said. “He had flowcharts and everything else. Any question that he thought the administration would ask, he was prepared and ready for — and this is on top of his workload and everything.”

Byrd is also involved with the band, the Mu Alpha Theta math club, the National Honor Society and the Prom Committee at WCHS.

Wong said he is very impressed with Byrd’s ability to accomplish so much in the time he has.

“‘How does this guy find the hours in the day to be able to study and maintain grades?’” Wong said. “He is always around doing stuff for Warren Central and doing stuff in the community.”