STAR Student honors elementary teacher


Maddie Beatty of Starr’s Mill High was the 2016 Fayette County STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Program) winner, having the highest SAT score of all graduating high school seniors in the school system.

As a STAR student, Maddie had the privilege of honoring the one teacher who she felt had had the greatest impact on her academic achievement. A student usually selects a teacher from his or her high school, but Maddie went back further in her educational career, all the way to the beginning.

She chose Peeples Elementary teacher Monica Thomas, the teacher who taught Maddie when she was in kindergarten and first grade at the elementary school. Thomas, who now teaches third grade, was shocked when Maddie showed up at the school to present her with a bouquet of flowers, and to tell her that she had chosen Thomas as her STAR teacher.

“I’m very honored that Maddie chose me. When she was in kindergarten, she came to my first-grade class for some academics, and then the next year, I had the privilege of having her in my first-grade class. She was a very bright and creative child. She was, and still is, a shining star. I am very proud of the beautiful young lady that she has become,” said Thomas.

With Maddie being named the STAR student for Fayette County, Thomas also became the STAR teacher for the county. They were honored at a banquet sponsored by the Kiwanis Club along with the other STAR students and teachers from all of the school system’s high schools.

Thomas says she never knew that she had impacted Maddie’s educational experience in such a monumental way that she would choose her to share one of the highest honors given to students and teachers in Georgia.

The STAR program, now in its 58th year, is sponsored, administered, and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation. 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 in their class based on grade point average.