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Harlem STAR student embraces 'nerd' label

Posted: March 18, 2014 - 11:03pm
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Harlem STAR student Gabby Farr selected her middle school band director, Alda Wilmoth, as her STAR teacher.   Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Harlem STAR student Gabby Farr selected her middle school band director, Alda Wilmoth, as her STAR teacher.

Being considered a nerd is not a problem for Harlem High School’s STAR student.

“I enjoy AP calculus. I don’t think it gets any nerdier than that,” said STAR student Gabby Farr.

In spite of her obvious skills in math, music is Farr’s true passion. Her goal is to major in music education at Georgia Southern and teach music on the high school level, which is why she selected her Harlem Middle School band director, Alda Wilmoth, as her STAR teacher.

“She is not just a teacher. She has had the most impact on me musically and in real life. She’s my other mother,” said Farr. “She’s the one who influenced me to become a music teacher.”

Playing the clarinet didn’t come naturally to Farr.

“The first day she came in band we gave her a clarinet to take home and she put it together backwards and had the mouthpiece upside down,” said Wilmoth. “Once we got her straightened out, though, she took off.”

Farr has kept in close contact with her mentor by volunteering to tutor her middle school students. Farr, who plays clarinet, is also able to help students on flute, saxophone, trumpet and trombone.

“Any time I need her she’ll come down,” said Wilmoth. “She is the most consistent (volunteer) and she’s the one who is the most versatile.”

Wilmoth was both surprised and honored to be named STAR teacher.

“I think being a STAR teacher is right up there or beyond being named Teacher of the Year, because the student picks you.” said Wilmoth.

When Farr called her former teacher to tell her that she had selected her as her STAR teacher, Wilmoth was stunned.

“I was so overwhelmed that I burst into tears on the telephone,” said Wilmoth.

Farr’s SAT score of 1890 and the Advanced Placement classes she has taken will enable her to be classified as a sophomore at Georgia Southern after her first semester.

Her two years as a drum major at Harlem High School also helped her develop her leadership skills.

“It’s all about leadership,” said Farr. “ It’s 20 percent musicianship and 80 percent leadership.”

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