When Kaili Walker arrived in Thomson to begin the sixth grade, she didn't know anyone.
"I didn't know a soul. It's hard being the new kid."
Fortunately, one of Walker's teachers, Anita Cummings - who has since become Anita Foreman - stepped in and made life a whole lot easier. Not only did she help Kaili with her math by staying endless hours after school, she also helped her meet new friends. And so it was no surprise that when Kaili was named McDuffie County's 2003 STAR student, she chose Foreman as her STAR teacher.
"(She) was always a person who went out of her way to make sure you understood," Kaili said. "She cared about your academic well being, but she always cared about you. She would stay after work; she would do whatever it took to help you."
Typically STAR students choose teachers they had in high school, but Foreman had such an impact on Kaili's life, that the decision was unusually easy.
"My guidance counselor told me that the STAR teacher is someone who influenced you," Kaili said. "So I wanted to pick someone who made an impact on my life."
Thomson High School senior Kaili Walker (right) was named McDuffie County's 2003 STAR student, and she chose her sixth-grade teacher, Anita Foreman, as her STAR teacher.
Photo by Elwood Hamilton
Foreman was shocked when she heard Kaili had chosen her as her STAR teacher, but she wasn't surprised at all to hear that Kaili had won the award in the first place.
"As a student she was very well organized and a perfectionist," she said. "She always went over and beyond what was asked of her, and she would always come up with an easier way for someone who didn't understand it."
Of her award, Foreman was eager to express her adulation.
"It gave amazing a new definition," she said. "It was truly amazing. So many teachers came after me, and for her to come back after all those years and select me, it's got to be the Jesus in me."
The STAR student award is given to the senior with the highest SAT score, while they also must be in the Top 10 percent of their class. Additionally, Kaili was named valedictorian of her senior class. Her future plans include college, with her top choices including Florida A&M University, Spelman College and Mercer University.
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