The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition, STAR, program honors Georgia's highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. Since its creation in 1958 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the STAR Program has honored nearly 25,000 high school seniors who have in turn chosen their STAR Teachers to share in this recognition. Every accredited high school in Georgia is eligible to participate in this preeminent student/teacher academic recognition.
“Mrs. Manning was one of my first teachers when I came to Cornerstone in ninth grade,” said Emily, “I chose her as my Star Teacher in part because she helped me to transition from middle school to a higher level of writing. English has always been one of my favorite subjects, and in helping me grow my skill, Mrs. Manning also fostered my love for it. I love how passionate Mrs. Manning is about her subject area; it floods over into her teaching, and seeing that in my teachers makes a big difference for me as a student.”
“I also chose Mrs. Manning as my Star Teacher because she established a safe place where no question I had ever seemed too silly, and even if it was, she did not let me know that. She was patient, compassionate, and understanding, and she was always willing to explain when her students were confused or lost. Mrs. Manning genuinely cares about her students, believes in them, and hopes the best for them. The culmination of these practices and qualities was that I always felt respected as a student and a person, making me respect her even more, and that is something that has stuck with me throughout my entire high school career.”
Emily said she was “really surprised and honored to discover that I was Star Student. When I took the SAT the last time, I was extremely stressed out and did not think I would score very well. That score then ended up being my highest, so looking back, all that stress seems worth it now.” Emily plans to attend Belmont University and study music.
Mrs. Manning, secondary English department head, said she was “beyond surprised and honored when Emily told me she chose me as Star Teacher! Since I've been teaching primarily 9th and 10th grades over the last several years, I never thought I would be chosen. She said some very sweet words when I asked her why she chose me, and it meant the world to me!”
“When Emily was in my classes her freshman and sophomore year, I saw her writing as a gift and also observed how she continuously looked for ways to grow and improve. She always had such a positive outlook and wanted constructive criticism. It has been such a blessing watching her move through high school, and I'm so proud of her and her accomplishments. Even more than that, she maintains her strong character and her sweet spirit shows to all around her.”
When Emily and Mrs. Manning shared the good news with their families, of course, both were thrilled. Mrs. Manning said, “My mom was very proud and asked if I'd be in the newspaper!”
“My friends and family were really excited for me,” said Emily “When we first found out, it killed my mother not to be able to post it on Facebook or tell all our friends and family for a few weeks.”
Both Emily and Mrs. Manning, along with other area Star Students and Teachers, will all be honored at a regional banquet in the spring, hosted by the PAGE Foundation.