By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
SHS's Elliot Edwards named 2010 STAR student
Joseph Ferguson honored with 2010 STAR teacher
Bulloch County STAR student nominee Elliot Edwards of Statesboro High, left, chuckles as his STAR teacher Joe Ferguson, right, relates a story during Tuesday's STAR Student/Teacher Banquet at the Statesboro Inn. Edwards was chosen to represent Bulloch County in the Regional STAR competition.

    Middle Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Robert S. Reeves challenged students to pursue goals with enthusiasm Tuesday at the Bulloch County STAR Student/Teacher Recognition Banquet held at Statesboro Inn Tuesday, where Statesboro High School STAR student Elliot Carl Edwards and his band director Joseph Ferguson were honored to represent the county in the regional competition.
    Six schools were represented at the banquet, which was hosted by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce. Edwards and Ferguson were selected above Southeast Bulloch High School STAR student Kristian Nicole Terrell and teacher Linda Fix; Bulloch Academy STAR student Marlee Victoria Hagan and her teacher Deborah Carico; Bulloch Academy STAR student Sarah Kathryn Brown and her teacher Beth Burke; Portal High School STAR student Marjani Ruth Hall and her teacher Amy Bettinger; and Trinity Christian School STAR student Hannah Rebecca Sharp and her teacher Donna McKenna.
    Hagan and Brown tied for Bulloch Academy's STAR student status.
    Edwards was visibly nervous and joked about not being a very good public speaker, but warmed up as he spoke about Ferguson's encouragement. "He gave me the drive and passion to work my way through high school," he said.
    Edwards said he has auditioned for many colleges and plans to major in music performance. He has been accepted to the University of Wisconsin, but is waiting to hear from Indiana University as well, he said.
    Ferguson expressed surprise at being a band director selected as a STAR teacher.
    "I asked my boss (SHS Principal Marty Waters) are you sure I can get this? I'm just the band teacher."
    He praised Edwards for his perseverance and dedication. "I've seen this guy grow for three years, really mature on so many levels, basically become a man," he said. "It's exciting to see all these opportunities open up for him. I'm honored someone of Elliot's stature and achievement would select me."
    All students and teachers were honored for their school-level achievement after Reeves spoke about goals, and how to achieve them.
    The judge told students "You've got to have a goal. You have to know where you want to go."
    He told them they needed "desire, determination and dedication" as well as excitement, using a humorous story as an example.
    Squatting to illustrate his point, Reeves talked about how a duck lays and egg and waddles away, but a chicken lays an egg and squawks about it. People eat chicken eggs instead of duck eggs "because the chicken is so proud of, excited about the egg," he joked.
    He used former Miss Georgia Kara Martin, a Georgia Southern University graduate, and football legend Herschel Walker, as examples of determination leading to their goals. "Dedication is the key ingredient to success," he said.
    Edwards and Ferguson were the first to be honored for being their school's STAR team. Southeast Bulloch High School's Terrell and Fix were next.
    Terrell said she plans to attend Georgia Southern University and study psychology, as she intends to become a school psychologist. She said Fix "really challenged me - that's why I didn't like her at first; she was hard."
    Fix said Terrell "brought a lot to our classroom ... ads a lot of insight o discussions of literature ... has a lot of creativity and versatility."
    Bulloch Academy's Hagan said she will attend the University of Georgia, possibly pursuing journalism or production. She said Carico encouraged students to "do what you love and never give up... she's not afraid to admit when she's making mistakes and is easy to talk to."
    Carico said Hagan is "talented ... academically and musically - and is ready - prepared spiritually, mentally, physically and socially to do whatever she wants to do."
    Bulloch Academy's Brown will also attend the University of Georgia and said Burke is "probably one of the teachers who challenged me the most.
    "She definitely pushed me and I learned a lot from her," she said.
    Burke said Brown, who she watched grow into "the fine young lady she is today ... is a very bright student and very well rounded."
    Portal High School STAR student Marjani Ruth Hall said she is deciding between the University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University. She said Bettinger is "such a great teacher ... very patient, kind to students and I just want to thank her for all she has done."
    Bettinger said Hall is very involved, and very intelligent, having held many roles in school clubs and programs, pursuing online courses as well as others at Georgia Southern University. "Marjani has great moral character. I am extremely honored Marjani chose me."
    Trinity Christian School STAR student Sharp said she intends to attend the Florida Institute of Technology and major in astrophysics. She hopes to work for NASA as an astronaut one day, she said.
    About McKenna, she said "She has been part of the inspiration for my love of science. She showed me how science and math are applicable to real life."
    McKenna said she is "very blessed that Hannah chose me." She said Sharp would always ask questions beyond the school classes and is "one of the most inquisitive and curious students."
    After all STAR students and teachers were introduced, Dr. Charles Webb, member of the Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, announced Edwards and Ferguson as the county school system winners.
    According to another Education Committee member, Dennis Key, the STAR program is now in its 52nd year. The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), which sponsors the STAR program, has honored 21,500 students and their teachers, he said.
     Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter