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[Photos courtesy of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce] Pike County’s STAR students and teachers were honored by the Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 2, including (l-r) CrossPointe Christian Academy STAR teacher Ashley Turner and STAR student Ella Fulop, PCHS STAR teacher Cathy Takle and STAR student Callie Williams and PCHS STAR student Kaci Wadsworth and STAR teacher Mark Jones.

STAR students, teachers honored by Chamber

Pike County has three STAR students this year with two who tied for the honor at Pike County High School and the systemwide STAR student from CrossPointe Christian Academy in Hollonville. CrossPointe’s Ella Fulop was named STAR student and she selected Ashley Turner as her STAR teacher. Ella will go on to compete for the region honor in March.

Pike County High School’s STAR student Kaci Wadsworth selected Mark Jones as her STAR teacher and STAR student Callie Williams selected Cathy Tackle as her STAR teacher.

The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, is in its 65th year and to obtain the 2021 STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.

The STAR stuudents and STAR teachers they selected were honored by the Chamber Feb. 9.

“It was a great night celebrating some incredible students and teachers at our 2023 STAR Students and Teachers Reception at the Chamber office,” said Meredith Maddox. “Thank you to our event sponsors Gordon State College, Tri-Copy Equipment, The Sellers Law Firm, Pike Depot, Coker Pediatrics, Pike County Family Connection and Griffin Imaging. Without them, we could not have provided these deserving students and teachers with this special night. We’d also like to give a shout out to our Associate Partner Chick-fil-A of Griffin for providing food for the reception and Christ Chapel and Southern Rivers Energy for providing some ‘swag’ for our students and teachers to take home. We are so proud of these amazing students and teachers who are doing great things! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!”

Ella Fulop – CrossPointe Academy

Systemwide STAR student Ella Fulop has been attending CrossPointe Christian Academy since she was a ninth grader. She hopes to attend the University of West Georgia and eventually open her own bookstore. She has been a part of the Beta Club, archery team and yearbook staff at CrossPointe. She is the daughter of Michael and Layna Fulop and the sister of Maddy Fulop and Landon Fulop.

“I chose Mrs. Turner because she was the first teacher to truly make me feel welcome and comfortable at CrossPointe. She has always encouraged me to love learning and to want to learn more, regardless of the subject,” said Ella.

Ella is the systemwide winner, and she and her STAR teacher will attend the STAR region banquet in March.

Ashley Turner has been teaching for six years. She married her high school sweetheart Powell and they have a 2-year-old daughter.

“I originally wanted to go into social work and counseling, but I realized I could reach more people if I raised up students to go into those fields,” she said. “Ella is a gem. She is rare and precious. She is as compassionate as she is brilliant. She has this delightful sense of whimsy about her that I adore. She’s a great listener and bestows nuggets of wisdom that are pure gold. She dazzles!”

Callie Williams – Pike County High School

PCHS’ Callie Williams is a standout Lady Pirates softball player who will attend Trevecca Nazarene University on a softball and academic scholarship. She also competed in basketball and track along with being in National Honors Society, Student Council, FFA and Tri-M. 

“I am majoring in chemistry with a minor in economics. I want to work in a research lab once I have graduated college,” she said. “I chose Mrs. Takle for my STAR Teacher because she is the teacher that has impacted me the most. I had her for first and second grade, and she was the first teacher I ever had who taught me to think for myself. She also taught me that there is always more to learn, and she always believed in me, even when I was only seven. She cares about every one of her students and wants to see them not only succeed but become the best person and student they can be. There is not a teacher that is more deserving than Mrs. Takle.”

Callie is the daughter of Jim and Michelle Williams and the sister of Alexis Williams. 

Kaci Wadsworth – Pike County High School

STAR student Kaci Wadsworth plans to attend Georgia Tech to major in aerospace engineering and she may minor in Spanish. 

“My career plans would be to work on advancing design elements of aircraft or spacecraft, but if I am being honest, I am not exactly sure where my college education will end up taking me. I also have interests in medical research, genetic research and economics,” she said. “I chose Mr. Jones as my STAR teacher because, put simply, he is a phenomenal teacher. Mr. Jones makes learning enjoyable and it is apparent in everything he teaches that he wants us to truly understand what we are learning. Grades, tests or assignment deadlines have never been the prime focus for Mr. Jones, but instead it is the knowledge and understanding we can take away from his class. He works extremely hard to be the best teacher he can be. The intelligence Mr. Jones exhibits along with his passion for teaching is the combination that makes him such a wonderful teacher.”

In addition to excelling academically, Kaci is an outstanding softball player who is also involved with several groups in school including HOSA, National Honors Society, Science National Honors Society, National Art Honors Society, Book Club and Foreign Language Club. 

“I play travel softball for a team out of Brooks. Some of the best memories I have had throughout high school comes from playing softball with my teammates. My coaches have supported me endlessly and it is hard to explain how grateful I am for them,” she said. “In my free time, I love to pick up a good book and am always looking for some good book recommendations!” 

Kaci is the daughter of Jennifer and Todd Wadsworth and she has a 22-year-old brother named Jarren Wadsworth. 

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