Calling all former STAR students and teachers

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 20, 2015

On April 30, the Mississippi Economic Council’s Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition Program will celebrate its 50th anniversary in Jackson, and the organization is looking for former STAR students and teachers to tell their stories.

The MEC is searching for students and teachers who participated in STAR during previous years to provide an update on what they have done since being recognized by the program.

According to a statement released by the MEC, the M.B. Swayze Foundation STAR program has acknowledged more than 10,000 of the top high school seniors in Mississippi since its inception. In honor of the 50-year anniversary, the program is asking for all former STAR participants to visit the website at to tell their stories and help answer the question: “Where are they now?”

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“Students can talk about their experiences, their memories, and how it made them feel being recognized for such an outstanding academic achievement,” said Vickie Powell, Senior Vice-President of Foundations.

“Our theme this year is ‘celebrating the past, embracing the future,’ and that’s what we want to do,” said Powell, “It’s always good to reflect so future students know who blazed the trail.”

Any former STAR students or teachers from Picayune, Pearl River Central or Poplarville school districts are encouraged to visit the website and submit their information.

According to the MEC website, an individual must be a high school senior with at least a 25 on the ACT and an overall average grade of 93 or greater to be eligible for the STAR student honor.

The eligible student with the highest ACT score in the class is selected to be the STAR student. If there are two students in the same class who score 35 or more on the ACT, then both students are awarded the honor.

The STAR student is asked to select their STAR teacher, which is the instructor who has made the biggest contribution to the student’s academic success throughout their education.

Since 1997, the Kelly Gene Cook Senior Charitable Foundation, Inc. has donated $1,179,500 in scholarship money to the STAR program.

The 50th Anniversary Education Celebration will take place at the Jackson Convention Complex. Anyone interested in attending the luncheon should visit for more information.