BHS, GCA students honored as STAR students

Published 5:26 pm Friday, March 3, 2017

Teairra Jenkins, a senior at Bainbridge High School, and Mikayla Buckhualter, a senior at Grace Christian Academy, were recognized as part of 2017s PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition at the Chamber Luncheon on Thursday.

To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their graduating class based on grade point average. That student then selects the teacher he or she feels has been most instrumental in their academic development.

Email newsletter signup

Jenkins chose Dr. Joe Sweet has her STAR teacher.

Sweet said Jenkins had an unusual drive to understand and master the concepts she was taught. There were many times she missed one or two questions on an exam, and it would bug her until she figured out how to do it, he said.

“If you put her in any environment, she will work circles around the whole group,” Sweet said. “She has the work ethic to go with her smarts, and that is one fantastic combination. She has probably taught me more than I could ever teach her.”

Teairra is a member of Anchor Club and HOSA, and volunteers for local spelling bees and the Special Olympics. She takes AP classes and stays at the top of her class, maintaining a 98 cumulative GPA. She is currently in Mrs. Bland’s patient care fundamentals class and is hoping to receive her CNA license in May. 

Her plans for the future include attending Georgia Southern in the fall and receiving her bachelor of science in nursing. She hopes to one day become a nurse practitioner. She credits her success to a strong support system at home and at school, as well as her own personal drive to gain new knowledge every day. 

Buckhaulter is the system winner for the STAR program. She chose Richard Cox as her STAR teacher.

Cox said the honor of STAR student falls back on Buckhaulter’s dedication to and excellence in academics.

“I am honored that Mikayla felt that I was a teacher that made a difference for her, but in the end it really does go back to the student,” Cox said. “Mikayla is an outstanding young lady and an outstanding student and she has really grown in her time at high school.”

Buckhaulter is a Duke Tip scholar and has been on the principal’s honor roll since eighth grade.  During the fall of 2016, she was on Bainbridge State College’s Honor’s List. She has been accepted to Berry College and awarded Berry’s Dean Scholarship. 

Buckhaulter plans to attend Berry on a pre-veterinary track. After she completes her bachelor’s degree, she will work toward a DVM at a vet college with a focus on small animals.

The STAR program, now in its 59th year, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education. The Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the local STAR recognition for all 59 years. The STAR program was created to focus the public’s attention on the ‘best of the best’ that Georgia has to offer.