Pitsco Education has awarded $500 scholarships to two 2013 Star Academy Program students who have found success in the acceleration program and embody its ideals. All finalists in the scholarship competition were nominated by teachers and administrators from Star Academy Programs across the country.
The winners are Celeste Giles of Enoree Career Center in Greenville, South Carolina, and Kevin Sipah of Sweetwater Middle School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Giles and Sipah are on track to accelerate from eighth to tenth grade this school year, returning to their age peer group after having fallen behind in the past.
Here, in the words of the teachers who know them best, are abbreviated stories of the two winners, who will receive their scholarship certificates at a special ceremony at the end of their school year.
Celeste Giles (Nominator: Carol Lee Rodgers, English teacher)
Celeste entered the Star Program after a series of catastrophic events, over which she had no control, resulting in her failing the eighth grade. Academically, Celeste is a straight-A student, and that fact says a great deal considering the demands of the Pitsco program and school district setting an A at 95-100. She grasps concepts quickly and has the initiative to take on additional work without being instructed to do so whenever she completes assignments. She is reliable and dependable and never fails to produce the results that we expect from her.
With her peers, she is admired and respected, and these abilities, of course, put her in the position of leadership where, once again, she can be counted on to respond with integrity and competence. She is able to cross racial and ethnic boundaries with ease and grace. Her social skills allow her to work well with others, both professional staff and classmates.
She would like to be a pediatric surgeon and realizes that requires a 15-year commitment post high school. She would like to attend Harvard or Johns Hopkins.
Kevin Sipah (Nominator: Marsha Denton, Language Arts teacher)
Oh, the obvious beginning to this recommendation goes something like this: Kevin Sipah is one of my favorite students; Kevin Sipah is one of the brightest students that I have taught in the academy; Kevin Sipah is a delight to have in class. But, please do not judge Kevin solely on his intelligence.
Despite Kevin's quiet, unassuming nature, infallible work ethic, and consistent focus, he carries with him a secret even Kevin has probably tucked so far away, he doesn't even remember -- Kevin Sipah wanted out of the academy when it first started in August.
However, with a strong perseverance to finish what he began and an innate respectfulness toward his teachers, Kevin stayed with a program he didn't think he liked and slowly began his turnaround. He has been able to maintain academic excellence by making all A's in his classes in the academy. He also fits in well with his peers and keeps a wonderful relationship with his teachers by maintaining a superlative academic and discipline record.
Consequently, Kevin is simply an amazing student who loves the academy. Kevin looks forward to finishing high school and attending college, where he hopes to become a meteorologist by pursuing a degree in science at a four-year college.