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Wilson and Waller: Lamar’s own STARS

By Diana New Brannon Waller holds numerous academic achievements but remains humble while he is celebrated as the 2017 STAR student for Lamar County High School. Waller scored a 1460 out of 1600 on his SAT and will be honored for receiving Star Student Achievement Recognition (STAR) during the Jan. 19 Community Awards banquet. Although he has been dual enrolled and primarily attending Gordon State College, Waller selected Sara Wilson as his STAR teacher after taking her math class during his sophomore year of high school. Waller has kept a close student/ teacher relationship with Wilson since the class and has been provided encouragement in all of his academic endeavors. ’This has been something I have always wanted to achieve, and Mrs. Wilson has always been there to provide encouragement,’ said Waller. ‘Many teachers provide their students with great knowledge and spectacular insight to different subjects but Mrs. Wilson’s teaching left a huge personal impact on my will to succeed academically. She always kept an amazing attitude and her students always came to class excited to learn.’ Originally wanting to go into the medical field, Wilson began her career with a pre-med degree. She has since found her passion in teaching and has taught math and science for 14 years. ’Helping students learn and grow as academics and individuals is one of the things I enjoy most about teaching,’ said Wilson. ‘Students like Brannon, who have a passion for learning and goals to succeed give purpose to teaching and help us grow as much as help them.’ The STAR program has been around since 1958 and to obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on any single test date of the three-part SAT through November of their senior year. They must also be in the top 10 percent of their class based on grade point average. Waller has been a part of the school’s academic team, literary team and chorus. He not only excels in academic excellence but is also involved as a volunteer in the community and for his church. Waller plans to study computer science and is deciding on which school he would like to attend. Waller worked hard to score well on the SAT and encourages other students to work hard and never give up on their goals, even if it takes multiple tries. ’I’d tell students who are striving to do the best they can do on the SAT to study hard and that it never hurts to keep trying. It’s like the old saying ‘˜If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” concluded Waller. Brannon is son of David Waller and Tammy Thompson and is one of six siblings. He is the grandson of Glenna Houk Waller and the late Larry Waller, who was a former sheriff of Lamar County.

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