Cole Anderson and Christy VanHorn Awarded STAR Student and STAR Teacher

Senior Cole Anderson has been named STAR Student for the 2020-2021 school year! This honor is given by the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) M. B. Swayze Foundation, sponsor of the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program.  Established by the Mississippi Economic Council in 1965, the purpose of the STAR program is to recognize outstanding students & teachers in Mississippi. In addition to this honor, every STAR student is given the opportunity to designate a STAR Teacher, the teacher who has made the greatest contribution to the student’s scholastic achievement. Cole has designated Spanish Teacher and Foreign Language Department Head Christy VanHorn as his STAR Teacher.
STAR Students are selected on the basis of academic excellence.  Both American College Test scores and scholastic averages are compared to determine the school’s STAR Student, and each honoree will be listed with the 2021 STAR Students and STAR Teachers in the STAR booklet. “The STAR program encourages and promotes academic achievement among Mississippi’s high school seniors.  We congratulate all of our STAR Students and STAR Teachers for their exceptional level of achievement,” said Vickie Powell, Senior Vice President of Foundations.  

When Christy VanHorn was designated this year's STAR Teacher, she was "completely shocked"! "He got me good!" she said when asked about Cole's choice. 

Having had Cole in her classroom back-to-back school years in Spanish III and Spanish IV, Mrs. VanHorn couldn't help but notice his capability to pick up the language. Beyond that, it was his enthusiasm for every lesson and unit covered in class that stood out most. "He is a hard worker, exceptionally smart, and a student who appreciates learning for the sake of learning," said VanHorn of her STAR student.

"Being chosen fro STAR Student is such an honor," says Cole. "I'm so glad my years at Hartfield made an impact, whether it be big or small. This award just shows that impact, and it makes it feel worth it to me."

Set to attend Auburn University with a major in Integrative Biology this fall with plans to enter the world of veterinary medicine, Cole's future is sure to live up to "star" quality. But before he moves on to what the future has in store for him, he is taking the time to appreciate the relationships God has blessed him with.

"Obviously, I am so grateful for the academics and high school experience Hartfield gave me, but the thing that I'm most grateful for are the relationships," says Anderson. "Both with my teachers and fellow students, the relationships I made at Hartfield are sure to stay."

When asked about her teaching philosophy, Christy VanHorn says, "I am a firm believer that relationships are key to an effective classroom environment and successful student-teacher relationships. I've learned that if students cannot connect with you, they won't connect or care about the content you teach. If they know that you care about them personally, they will be all the more willing and motivated to learn the content you are trying to teach them. And sometimes, they might even be interested in it!"

As Christy continues in her teaching career, she is most excited to take advantage of every possible growing opportunity. "Teaching language is an adventure and is a field that is always evolving. We've taken significant steps as a department over the past few years to update and expand our curriculum, and I'm excited to continue this endeavor with my colleagues."
Over 600 STAR Students and STAR Teachers will be recognized for their exceptional achievement by MEC’s M.B. Swayze Foundation with medallions, certificates and lapel pins.  The top 20 STAR Students –The ALL-STAR Scholars – will receive scholarships and their STAR Teachers will receive awards provided by the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation.  The highlight of STAR is the naming of the Mississippi ALL-STAR Scholar for 2020–2021 school year and winner of the coveted $24,000 Cook Foundation Scholarship. 
Hartfield Academy is fully accredited by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the MidSouth Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Southern Association of independent Schools (SAIS).