STAR Program Honors 342 STAR Students, STAR Teachers at Education Celebration

Click Here for a Full List of STAR Students & STAR Teachers

A Clinton High School student with a perfect 36 composite score on the American College Test (ACT), combine scores of 144 and average of 99.375 has been named Mississippi’s TOP ALL-STAR Scholars for 2019. Clark I. Hensley, son of Adele and Frank Hensley, received top recognition at the 54th Annual Education Celebration held by the Mississippi Economic Council’s M. B. Swayze Education Foundation.

A $24,000 scholarship provided by the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. was presented to Hensley by Katy Pacelli, Executive Director of the Foundation. Hensley plans to attend college and study Computer Science.

The theme for the 2019 Education Celebration was Reach for the Stars. The event recognized 342 STAR Students and their STAR Teachers at the MEC’s Swayze Foundation event. Each STAR Student received a medallion, lapel pin and certificate in recognition of their achievements.

Each STAR Student is asked to designate a STAR Teacher – the teacher who has made the greatest contribution to the student’s scholastic achievement. Hensley designated Alix Davis Williams of Clinton as his STAR Teacher. Williams has been teaching for 24 years and this is her 8th time to be named STAR Teacher.

Caleb C. Owens a Lewisburg High School STAR Student has been name 1st runner-up and will receive a $20,000 Scholarship from the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. His parents are Eric and Laura Owens. Owens designated Kim Hallmark of Hernando as his STAR Teacher. Hallmark has been teaching for 11 years and this is her first time being named STAR Teacher.

Julia L. Mitchell a Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School STAR student has been named 2nd runner- up and will receive a $16,000 Scholarship from the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. Her parents are Hillis and Ed Becker and Robert Mitchell. Mitchell designated Donna N. Patrick of Madison as her STAR Teacher. Patrick has been teaching for 37 year. She has been named STAR Teacher 13 times.

Each teacher of the top three ALL-STAR Scholars received a $1,000 award. One-time scholarship awards of $1,000 are provided to the remaining top 17 ALL-STAR Scholars. The remaining 17 All-STAR Teachers will each receive a $500 award. The Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. provided $88,500 in scholarships and awards to STAR Students and STAR Teachers.

The theme for the 2019 Education Celebration was Reach for the Stars. The event recognized 342 STAR Students and their STAR Teachers at the MEC’s Swayze Foundation event. Each STAR Student received a medallion, lapel pin and certificate in recognition of their achievements.

The Mississippi Economic Council and its M.B. Swayze Foundation sponsors the Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program in an effort to encourage scholastic achievement among the state's high school students. The STAR Program has two specific purposes:

  1. Emphasize scholastic excellence and encourage greater scholastic effort among Mississippi students.
  2. Recognition of the teaching profession.

Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. STAR Scholarships:

The top 20 STAR Students will be called ALL-STAR Scholastic Scholars, following the same steps as those used at the local level. Each ALL-STAR Scholar will receive a Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. STAR Scholarship provided by the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. Mr. Cooke was a native of Attala County and was active in worldwide pipeline construction. The STAR scholarship will be:

  • To the state's top ALL-STAR Scholar, a $24,000 Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. STAR Scholarship.
  • To the first runner-up, a $20,000 Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. STAR Scholarship.
  • To the second runner-up, a $16,000 Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. STAR Scholarship.

The above scholarships are awarded in equal payments over four years and are contingent upon student performance. One-time scholarship awards of $1,000 are provided to the remaining 17 ALL-STAR Scholars. Teachers of the top three ALL-STAR Scholars will each receive a $1,000 award. The remaining 17 ALL-STAR Teachers will each receive a $500 award.

* - STAR Students and STAR Teachers must be United States citizens to receive scholarships.