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Stephanie Raper
In the Loop Editor


2018 STAR Student and Teacher

James Will Baker, II has been named Grenada High School's STAR Student for the 2017 – 2018 school year by the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) M. B. Swayze Foundation, sponsor of the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program. Established by the Mississippi Economic Council in 1965, the purpose of the STAR program is to recognize outstanding students and teachers in Mississippi through its Education Celebration. The theme of the Celebration this year is: Think. Grow. Succeed.

STAR Student and Teacher

Will Baker (seated), son of James and Jessica Baker, has been chosen as Grenada High School STAR Student for the 2017 - 2018 school year. The STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) program was established by the Mississippi Economic Council in 1965 to recognize outstanding students and teachers in Mississippi. Will chose Mr. Matthew C. Gardner (standing) as his STAR Teacher, the teacher who has made the greatest contribution to his scholastic achievement. The pair will be honored along with other STAR Students and Teachers from Mississippi at the Education Celebration held in Jackson, Mississippi on April 12, 2018.

Baker, the son of James and Jessica Baker, will be honored during the annual Education Celebration on April 12, 2018, at the Jackson Convention Complex in downtown Jackson. The event is sponsored by AT&T, Atmos Energy, Bancorp South, Barksdale Management, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Entergy Mississippi, Ergon, Inc., Ingalls Shipbuilding, Mississippi Power Company, Nissan North America, Inc., Sanderson Farms, Inc., Trustmark National Bank, Walmart, and Yates. Additional local support for the STAR program is provided by MEC members from communities across the state.

A member of the National Honor Society, Baker has been a part of the Grenada football and archery teams since his freshman year. He enjoys volunteering at the Grenada Food Pantry and the Grenada Animal Shelter in his spare time. Baker is a proud AP student and attends the Superintendent's Breakfast every year. After graduation, Baker plans to enter the Chemical Engineering Department at Mississippi State.

STAR Students are selected on the basis of academic excellence. Both American College Test scores and scholastic averages are compared to determine the school's STAR Student, explained Vickie Powell of Jackson, Senior Vice President of Foundations. "The STAR program encourages and promotes academic achievement among Mississippi's high school seniors," she said.

Each STAR Student is asked to designate a STAR Teacher, the teacher who has made the greatest contribution to the student's scholastic achievement. Baker chose Mr. Matthew C. Gardner as his STAR Teacher. Gardner, a second-time recipient of STAR Teacher and an engineering and math instructor at GHS, stated, "I am honored to be selected Star Teacher for the 2017-18 school year. There are so many teachers at Grenada High School who are deserving of this award. I was blessed to be able to teach Will Baker. Will is a great young man, and his drive to be the best at everything shows both in and outside the classroom. His consistent pursuit of his goals will allow him to accomplish anything he desires. I met Will as a student, but now I consider him a friend. I wish him the best in all his future endeavors."

Over 500 STAR Students and STAR Teachers will receive recognition from MEC's M.B. Swayze Foundation at the Celebration. The top 20 STAR Students – The ALL-STAR Scholars – will receive scholarships and their STAR Teachers will receive awards provided by the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation. The highlight of the Education Celebration will be the naming of the Mississippi ALL-STAR Scholar for 2017-2018 school year, winner of the coveted $24,000.00 Cook Foundation Scholarship.