Kadie Cheeks and Amanda Schick share a rapport closer than the typical student-teacher bond.
Cheeks, Augusta Christian Schools' STAR student, said she considers Schick her friend, mentor, confidante and, as of this month, her STAR teacher.
"She's someone I can just talk to," the 17-year-old senior said of Schick. "I come to her to talk about school, boys, family problems, or if I'm having trouble resolving an issue with my faith. Sometimes, I just need her to listen while I vent."
For Schick's part, the third-year English teacher said she, too, sometimes leans on Cheeks, especially during a recent cancer scare endured by her mother-in-law. "Kadie's experiences in dealing with a loss due to cancer really helped me through that time," Schick said.
Cheeks' good friend, Katie York, lost her battle with cancer in 2008.
For the most part, though, the nature of their friendship is more jovial.
After scoring 2030 on the SAT, the highest in her class, Cheeks was named the STAR student. It was she who selected Schick as STAR teacher.
"I remember going to her and saying, 'Guess what. You won STAR teacher,'" Cheeks said. "She said, 'Great. Who won STAR student?'"
Schick said she and Cheeks rib each other, because they are a lot alike.
"Nerds with dictionaries," Cheeks said.
All kidding aside, Schick said Cheeks is one of the more gifted students she has taught. And Schick really has taught her a lot.
In three years, Schick has had Cheeks in three advanced English courses, an SAT preparation course, and supervised her during study halls. "Beyond being a gifted student and a gifted writer, Kadie is a remarkable person," Schick said. "It's not simply about getting a good grade to her. She has a built-in desire to learn and better herself."
Beyond her academic success, Cheeks also is captain of her swim team, a goalie on her soccer team, an equestrian, a hospital volunteer, a lifeguard, a volunteer swim coach, the office manager of her parent's auction house, and has volunteered for four years at the Hammond Hills Animal Hospital.
The owner of a horse, three dogs and a cat, Cheeks plans to study pre-veterinary medicine at Berry College in Rome, Ga., and attend graduate school at the University of Georgia.
"That is something that has always kind of come naturally to me," Cheeks said of taking care of animals. "My mom told me that I used to growl when I was 4 years old and trying to talk to dogs."
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