Since she was a little girl, Mattie Sue Judd says she's wanted to grow up to be an expert at something.
With the North Augusta youngster heading off to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., on a full scholarship this fall, it's a lifelong dream she hopes to fulfill.
"I'm going to work on being an expert at something," Mattie Sue said. "I'm pretty confident that I'll be getting a degree in post-graduate studies."
Mattie Sue, this year's STAR student at Augusta Preparatory Day School, said she'll likely pursue a double major in the classics and math.
"I really enjoy math and Latin, too," said the daughter of the Revs. Matt and Suzie Judd. "Both are kind of similar to me. It's all about translation."
When the 18-year-old senior learned that she was her school's Student Teacher Achievement Recognition student, she was excited and surprised.
"I was really kind of giddy," she said, adding that she thought a close friend would beat out the 31 other classmates for the coveted academic recognition.
When it came time to choose her STAR teacher, Mattie Sue said she knew hands-down who the honor would go to.
"Mr. Kennedy is the only teacher I've had all four years at Prep," said Mattie Sue, who was home-schooled prior to enrolling at Augusta Prep. "He's definitely a presence on campus and has always been there to help me and help me get adjusted."
"I feel honored to have been named STAR teacher by a student for whom I have enormous respect," said Franklin Kennedy, head of foreign languages at Prep, where he has taught for 14 years. "Mattie Sue is interested in pursuing a degree in the classics. As her Latin teacher, I am very pleased to see that I have been able to pass on my love of this field."
The oldest of four children, Mattie Sue said her departure for college in August will be a major change because of her close family ties. However, she said her previous extended travels, including a month-long study abroad program in Oxford, England, last summer, have helped her prepare for the transition from home to college.
"I'm not just going into it blind," she said. "I'm kind of excited about it."
While Mattie Sue is busy preparing for college, she continues to pursue her interests at Prep. She does a lot of behind-the-scenes work in the school's theater department and is a member of the debate, literary and math teams. Additionally, she holds a part-time job at Good News Church, which she attends with her family. When she isn't working on school projects or at the church, she can often be found doing volunteer work at Good News.
"I know that, in years to come, Mattie Sue will continue to make those around her proud of her accomplishments," Kennedy said. "She is a rising star."
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