The Prowler by Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-chief - 1M ago
Starr’s Mill is known for its motto ‘Demand Excellence,’ and every aspect the school is approached with that mindset. Whether it be the drama department, the marching band, or athletics, the Mill is determined to be the best it can possibly be. This is reflected in the students, and especially one in particular.
Senior Alyssa Angelo is a rare three-sport athlete for the Panthers, having played in over 300 games during her high school career, earning 12 varsity letters. In the fall, she leads the softball team as the starting shortstop. In the winter, she gears up as a defensive menace at point guard for the Lady Panthers basketball team. In the spring, she takes the lacrosse field, a field she’ll get used to in college at Winthrop University.
Shelby Foster Angelo steps up to the plate to bat. In her senior year, Angelo led the Lady Panthers in home runs. Her bat helped bring the Lady Panthers to the second round of the state playoffs, where they fell to Locust Grove.
“I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t fun,” Angelo said. “All three of them are teams sports. It’s like three extra families I get to be with.”
Angelo started the school year on the diamond playing for head softball coach Mark Williamson. Angelo was a part of a deep Final Four run and was a member of a region championship team. Angelo completed her career with 65 hits, 47 RBIs, and a career batting average of .286.
Her main role came as a leader for the Lady Panthers, as they had many young pieces on the roster during her final season.
“This year was a great year for her all around,” head softball coach Mark Williamson said. “She stepped up in a leadership role and was always there for her teammates.”
Once softball season ends, Angelo laces up to take the basketball court where she plays point guard. The defensive menace averaged over two steals per game and forced one charge per game. Angelo was normally tasked with defending the opposing team’s best guard, and her hustle and skill normally caused problems for those guards.
Shelby Foster Angelo dives for a lose ball against Griffin. Angelo is known for her hustle as an athlete. In every sport she played, she displayed a great nose for the ball.
“[Angelo] is a great player,” head girls’ basketball coach Emily Sweeney said. “She works hard and gives you everything she’s got.”
During Angelo’s freshman year, the Lady Panthers finished with a 15-10 record and the following year they finished 12-13, missing the state playoffs. After Sweeney took over as the head coach, Angelo along with rising seniors Alice Anne Hudson and Ashtyn Lally turned the team around. Throughout Angelo’s final two years, the Lady Panthers went 40-17 and reached back-to-back region championship games.
Angelo was a crucial piece to the girls’ basketball program as once again her role as a leader brought the team together. The chemistry of the team helped spark their successful seasons.
“As a senior I felt that it was my job [to lead],” Angelo said. “It could be the hardest part, but it’s worth it.”
Despite all of the games she logged and the postseason runs she experienced, Angelo failed to win a state championship on both the diamond and the hardwood. However, the 2019 Lady Panther lacrosse team delivered what she desired most.
The Winthrop commit played with a fire all season and elevated her play in the postseason. As the Mill knocked off opponent after opponent throughout their 13-4 regular season, they built a bond that turned the team into a force to be reckoned with. They averaged 18 goals per game and outscored their opposition 90-29 on their way winning the first lacrosse state championship south of I-20.
Sophia Bender Angelo observes the field during the GHSA A-AAAAA State Championship game. Angelo scores twice in the contest, helping lead the Lady Panthers to an 11-8 win. She will attend Winthrop University in the fall to play lacrosse.
After scoring five goals in the semi-final game, Angelo scored twice in the championship game and made hustle plays that kept the momentum in the Mill’s favor. Her passion and desire for a state ring was on display during their final game. Angelo left the game after the opening draw with an ankle injury but returned to be the leader the team needed on the field.
“As a lacrosse player, she never slows down. She plays every inch of the field,” head girls’ lacrosse coach Mary Lehman said. “As a teammate, she has tremendous leadership skills. All the girls look up to her.”
While Angelo accomplished a lot in her career, she always made sure to put her team first. Whether she was at shortstop, point guard, or midfield, she held herself and her teammates accountable which allowed for the success those teams experienced.
“I just want to win all the time,” Angelo said. “Being so competitive, things like that, drove me to keep playing.”
The Winthrop women’s lacrosse team is coming off of an 8-11 season in which they lost in the second round of the Big South tournament. However, Angelo is no stranger to helping lead a turnaround of an athletics team. She will join a young Eagle team that is only losing three seniors to graduation.
Just three years ago, Winthrop was 20-3 and made a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Angelo could be a crucial piece in returning the program to that type of glory. If her high school career is any indication, she won’t back down from the challenge.
“I’m kind of excited to be a freshman again and having to prove myself,” Angelo said. “I think it’ll be fun to reinvent myself again.”
Being a coach of a high school team takes a lot of dedication, something head track and field coach Chad Walker knows plenty about.
This week, the Atlanta Track Club awarded Walker the Hawthorne Wesley Coach’s Dedication Award. The annual award is given to a girls’ track coach who shows outstanding dedication to the sport. A coach can only earn the award once in a career.
“[Coach Walker] is an amazing guy who is amazingly dedicated to kids,” assistant principal and athletic director Shane Ratliff said. “He has a heart of gold, which is probably his best quality.”
Walker has coached track for the last 22 years, with the first nine years at Wheeler High School in Cobb County, and the last 13 years at Starr’s Mill High School. Besides track, Walker has been coaching the wide receivers on the varsity football team for the last eight years.
“[In track] I love how there are 16 different events where you can find success,” Walker said. “I really try to push that with all the kids that I coach.”
The track team had another tremendous season with Coach Walker at the helm, breaking nine school records and placing well at the state tournament. The boys finished 5th overall, and the girls placed 7th.
“I was honored to win this award,” Walker said. “I try to put my best foot forward every day that I’m coaching.”
Two additional members of the Starr’s Mill track team earned honors from the Atlanta Track Club. Senior Ty Duben was awarded the Track Club Scholarship, and senior Harrison Fultz made the All-Metro Distance Team for his performance in the 800-meter event this year. Fultz won an individual state championship in the 800 with a time of 1 minute and 52.96 seconds.
Like many students who walk through the doors of Starr’s Mill, the Hipp brothers used the knowledge they gained as Panthers to help them reach their career goals. Although they may be brothers, the futures they envisioned were all very different.
The oldest of the brothers, Dustin Hipp, was unsure exactly what career path he would choose in high school, but he knew it would involve his passion for math and science. During his time at the Mill, Dustin was involved with both the Math Team and Science Olympiad.
“I knew that I loved math and science, and I took every gifted and AP science class that I could when I was in high school,” Dustin said. “I really enjoyed those classes and they prepared me very well for a future in science. I had a general sense that I might want to do medicine at that point but didn’t solidify that plan until I was in college.”
Dustin graduated from the Mill in 2004 with close to a semester and a half of college credits. From there, Dustin attended Georgia Tech as a chemistry major, but ultimately ended up graduating as Tech’s first biochemistry major.
“[Having AP college credits] gave me a little more flexibility in my schedule to take classes that interested me rather than just what I needed for graduation,” Dustin said. “While I was at Georgia Tech I would also take opportunities to meet and work with as many physicians as possible.”
As a pediatric intensivist I take care of critically ill children that not only need admission to the hospital but to the ICU.”
— Dustin Hipp
While at Tech, Dustin shadowed a pediatric endocrinologist at Emory Healthcare and worked in the emergency department at Grady Hospital. Experiences like these helped Dustin decide a career in medicine was the perfect fit for him.
“Grady is a tremendous place because it serves a patient population that really has nowhere else to go,” Dustin said. “That is when I really confirmed for me that medicine would be a great place to combine my love for science and math with the desire to serve others and make lives a little better and a little easier.”
After graduating Tech, Dustin attended medical school at Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, where he earned his medical degree as well as a business degree in systems improvement. Following completing medical school in 2013, Dustin became a resident at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where he worked as a pediatric physician. Three years later, when Dustin finished his residency, he decided to stay at the hospital and begin work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
“As a pediatric intensivist I take care of critically ill children that not only need admission to the hospital but to the ICU,” Dustin said.
What drives people that are happiest in healthcare is the commitment to helping other people and making what are sometimes people’s worst days just a little more bearable.”
— Dustin Hipp
Most commonly, Dustin takes care of infants with breathing problems but also addresses children with brain injuries, severe asthma, septic shock, and congenital heart disease.
“It can be a very stressful job, a stressful environment, but it’s ultimately extremely satisfying,” Dustin said. “I enjoy the physiology that I use on a day to day basis that goes back to what I learned even in my AP Chemistry and AP Biology classes. So the physiology is interesting but you also develop meaningful relationships with the families and these days that you meet the families are sometimes the hardest days of a parents’ life and you walk with them and you explain what’s going on. It’s extremely rewarding work. It’s challenging as well.”
Dustin advises high school students to consider a career in medicine. Despite the years of schooling necessary, he asserted that healthcare is one of the most intriguing and rewarding career pathways.
“It’s a very innovative field, it’s exciting, and ultimately you feel like you are making a difference in people’s lives,” Dustin said. “What drives people that are happiest in healthcare is the commitment to helping other people and making what are sometimes people’s worst days just a little more bearable.”
Unlike his older brother, Devin Hipp knew exactly what he wanted to do with his future from a young age.
“I started collecting coins when I was eight or nine-years-old, and when I was in middle and high school I was working towards having a full-time career as a numismatist, which is basically a fancy name for someone who studies and learns about coins,” Devin said. “I wanted to have my own business buying and selling coins and work professionally in that capacity in the rare coin business.”
I always sort of had an obsessive learning personality so that whenever I want to learn about something I learn absolutely everything that I possibly can about it.”
— Devin Hipp
Devin’s interest in coins started when he found currency his father had brought back from his business trips to Europe. Intrigued by his find, Devin began to learn all he could about coins as a kid.
“I just thought that [the foreign currencies] were very interesting. And then I ended up finding a book about coins specifically,” Devin said. “I always sort of had an obsessive learning personality so that whenever I want to learn about something I learn absolutely everything that I possibly can about it.”
Immediately after graduating from the Mill in 2006, Devin started an internship with a rare coin company in Irvine, California. After three months in southern California, Devin returned to Georgia to attend Georgia Tech like his brother Dustin. While at Tech, Devin worked for a coin dealer in the Atlanta area.
“I learned the ins and outs of running a small business on a daily basis,” Devin said. “I was doing that while going to school at the same time so I saw how that was done. And then when I graduated Georgia Tech I picked up a lot of skills as far as accounting and just general networking — how to go out and raise capital for a business and get professional services down and thinks like that.”
When Devin graduated from Tech in 2012, he quit his job with the coin dealer in Atlanta and started his own business, which he has more recently relocated to Virginia Beach. Starting his business, Devin benefited a lot from relationships he had built while he was at Starr’s Mill.
“A lot of the networking and everything for my business came from Starr’s Mill relationships. One of my first investors was somebody that I met at Starr’s Mill,” Devin said. “It ended up being one of the parents of somebody I went to school with. I’ve had several customers from Starr’s Mill. My accountant is the mother of somebody I went to Starr’s Mill with.”
As a numismatist and business owner, Devin not only travels to auctions and shows buying, selling, and judging rare coins, but also has to manage the accounting and financial side of the business.
“It’s actually turned out a lot better than I thought it would,” Devin said. “I’ve been able to be very fortunate, very successful, doing this and it has been much better than I’d ever dreamt it would have when I was in high school. As far as like a lot of people don’t necessarily want to go to work on a Monday I look forward to going to work on a Monday. I really don’t work, to be honest with you. It’s just very fun for me running a business and buying and selling coins. It’s something I’ve loved to do for a long time.’’
Take what you learn working for a corporation, see places that they really excel and places that have shortcomings where they could be doing better, and whenever you start your own business enact those changes that you want to see.”
— Devin Hipp
Devin advises future entrepreneurs to take the risk of starting a business while they are still young. He explains this way you have less to lose, whereas when you are older you’ll be more reluctant to go out on your own.
“I think that especially coming out of high school the important thing is to always keep in mind is to think about what you are really passionate about doing and if you’re really good at that the money is going to follow along with it,” Devin said. “Take what you learn working for a corporation, see places that they really excel and places that have shortcomings where they could be doing better, and whenever you start your own business enact those changes that you want to see.”
Similar to Dustin, Branson, the youngest of the brothers, was unsure about his future while attending Starr’s Mill. Branson excelled at philosophy and literature rather than the math and sciences that intrigued Dustin.
“Honestly, I really enjoyed literature and philosophy and music as well,” Branson said. “Besides spending time with friends and things like that, I was reading a lot of literature at the time.”
After graduating from the Mill in 2007, Branson decided to enter a seminary and study toward becoming a Catholic priest.
Very often we don’t know what we actually want, and so out of my desire to know God and to live differently and live better, weirdly enough this desire for the priesthood began to grow…”
— Branson Hipp
“I really fell in love with the Catholic faith on an intellectual level and got really interested in it and was moved by the depth of it that there’s such a rich history but also the philosophy and the theology of it,” Branson said. “But also there were particular events in my life that changed me and caused me to desire to live differently and follow God. Very often we don’t know what we actually want, and so out of my desire to know God and to live differently and live better, weirdly enough this desire for the priesthood began to grow and it was something kind of strange that I didn’t understand but I couldn’t deny it existed. So I decided to follow that initial desire.”
Branson attended Saint Joseph Seminary College in Saint Benedict, Louisiana. There, Branson was able to follow his passion for philosophy.
“I really loved [Saint Joseph Seminary College], and I really enjoyed it particularly because I was studying philosophy,” Branson said. “The way that they did their program was really neat in that you would be studying ancient philosophy like Greco-Roman history and reading epic literature all at the same time as far as classes, so whenever you hit a particular period like Medieval Times or the Renaissance or the Modern World you would be studying it from the perspective of history, philosophy, literature, and architecture. You’re seeing how all those things connected, which was really great.”
Following graduating from Saint Joseph Seminary College, Branson attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Iningberg, Maryland, where he studied theology. Branson began his pastoral assignments which included studying Spanish in Mexico and working with the Spanish speaking community, teaching at an elementary and middle school, working in prison ministry with an immigration attorney, and in a parish in Washington, D.C.
“That was all part of my studies, and that was a lot of fun,” Branson said.
Branson graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in 2015 with a Master’s in Theology with a specialization in Church History and a Master’s in Divinity. Branson was then ordained a priest on June 27, 2015, and assigned to begin working at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Norcross, Georgia.
“I was [at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church] for two years and I was working primarily with the youth and also primarily with the Spanish speaking community primarily with immigrants actually,” Branson said. “It was a really fun time. It was a great community. An interesting community. It was a 90% immigrant community and not just from the Spanish speaking countries but also we had a large French-speaking African community and a good sized Korean and Vietnamese community so I learned a lot. It was a lot of fun. I learned a lot about a lot of different cultures and the food was really really good.”
You get to be with people in some of their most beautiful moments, but then you also get to stay with them in their most painful moments.”
— Branson Hipp
Now, Branson works at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Flowery Branch, Georgia. As a priest, Branson celebrates mass, does marriage preparations as well as marriages, visits the sick and dying, celebrates funerals, and works with college students and young adults to help them grow in their spiritual lives. Branson performs these tasks in both Spanish and English as he still works a lot with the Spanish speaking community. What Branson enjoys most is connecting with people and being a part of meaningful moments in their lives.
“Being with people helping to prepare them for marriage and then you get to marry them and be with them on that important day. And then you get to be with families when they’re grieving in funerals. And baptisms, right? Moments of recognizing the gift of their child,” Branson said. “You get to be with people in some of their most beautiful moments, but then you also get to stay with them in their most painful moments. I think so many people live life with a mask on, they don’t live in a true way in front of things, and so to have this constant invitation to be with people in these really raw, personable moments and to stay with them in that is really beautiful and I love it.”
Similar to Dustin working with families at the hospital, Branson is able to comfort people on some of their hardest days. This personal connection is why both brothers find their careers so rewarding. Looking back to high school, Branson also realizes priesthood combines everything he was looking for in a career.
“In high school, what I thought I wanted was to actually teach somewhere to teach philosophy, to teach literature, to teach,” Branson said. “It’s funny how the things that I wanted to do I get to do now in a really profound way. It’s very different than I thought.”
It’s funny how the things that I wanted to do I get to do now in a really profound way.”
— Branson Hipp
Branson advises high school students to pay attention to their reality and to be open. These two elements were key to Branson finding his place as a priest. He had to pay attention to his desire to follow God and be open to a career option he may have never previously considered.
“I think the biggest mistake is two things, one we have to be a student of reality, meaning we have to pay attention to what we are living with have to live with attention, and then the second thing which is connected is that we have to be open because the moment we think we already know we are in big trouble because reality is surprising and beautiful,” Branson said. “And so I think that’s the biggest thing we have to pay attention to: what we are living and we have to be open.”
Even though the Hipp brothers may have all followed different career paths, they were all able to find success and happiness in what they love doing. Their stories demonstrate how Starr’s Mill has provided students with applicable skills no matter what their futures entail. The possibilities for a Panther graduate are truly endless.
Secretary Terri Watkins is set to retire after 36 years of working for Fayette County, 22 of which have been at Starr’s Mill. Watkins was a founding faculty member.
Secretary Terri Watkins has been in the county since 1993, working as a moderate to severe exceptional children’s paraprofessional. She began at Oak Grove Elementary then transferred to Brooks Elementary as a first-grade paraprofessional until moving to Starr’s Mill in 1997.
During her time at the Mill, Watkins worked as an assistant principal secretary for seven to eight years before moving to work at the front desk for a couple of years. After front desk duty, she returned to her previous position, then started doing athletics only. From there she then worked as an assistant principal and an athletic director secretary before going straight back to athletics again.
“This had been my family,” Watkins said. “This is a family that I’ve had for twenty years, and it’s a little difficult leaving them, but I’m looking forward to the next stage. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Watkins’ story of how she got here is also quite the tale. At first she wanted to be a nurse, but with the way her schooling path set her up, it turned out she would only be doing paperwork and never get to actually work with the patients. That wasn’t what she wanted to do, so she left college and did apartment management for several years.
After that, Watkins moved on to the corporate world, dealing with import and export shipping. After she had kids, they didn’t like the long work hours she had to do, and Watkins found herself where she is now. Over the course of this time, Watkins had plenty of good memories, but one of her favorites is actually from Fayette County High School, a previous school she used to work for.
This is a family that I’ve had for twenty years, and it’s a little difficult leaving them, but I’m looking forward to the next stage.”
— retiring secretary Terri Watkins
“We had a massive fight between the boys in the morning — fifteen to twenty boys. Dr. Chamberlain was the dean of the schools, but Mr. Sweat was the vice principal and he was the one that dealt with it,” Watkins said. “We thought it was over with, lunch came, and then the girls had a fight about the boys’ fight in the afternoon.”
Along with that memory, another fun recollection involves the old junior-senior fights that used to take place and involves a lot of whipped cream. This kind of playful and light chaos with children is something Watkins admires and is one of the things that she’ll greatly miss.
“I’ll miss the people, I’ll miss getting to see kids all the time, and the craziness,” Watkins said. “Just the camaraderie we have in the office. We know each other just walking down the halls. It’s been my life for twenty years.”
You will see when you get out into the real world that what you thought was hard in here was probably the best days of your life.”
— retiring secretary Terri Watkins
Watkins has done a lot for the Mill, and the Mill means a lot to her as well. The memories will always hold a special place in her heart and even as she says farewell, she has advice for students yet to walk through the halls of Starr’s Mill.
“Never be afraid to try what you want to try,” Watkins said. “That fear’s not worth it. You might succeed, which you’ll never know if you don’t try. Be proud that you’re a Panther, be proud that you have this school. You will see when you get out into the real world that what you thought was hard in here was probably the best days of your life.”
Like teacher Barbara Thornton, Watkins has been here since the beginning and looks forward to retirement, calling it bittersweet. Both love the environment and will miss it dearly, but also cannot wait to spend more time with each of their families.
Even after helping students for years, Watkins hopes to keep the helping attitude with her kids and grandkids as she takes the opportunity to be with them more often.
Over the summer many students of the Mill will find their first jobs. Summer jobs help students learn responsibility and make a little cash. With advice and stories to share, teachers and administration send students off into the summer to find their own jobs and make their own memories.
Number one, do the best job you can possibly do with your first job.”
— Principal Allen Leonard
“As I was growing up in Fayette County, Georgia, I earned my money as a soccer referee for the Fayette County Soccer Leagues,” Leonard said.
Leonard explained that the skills he obtained during his first job continue to benefit him even now. “I would say that a lot of the decision-making procedures that I go through, even now on a daily basis, I started to develop those skills in that job,” Leonard said. “Number one, do the best job you can possibly do with your first job.”
Science department chair Dan Gant said his first job was at a summer camp. “My father ran a boys camp for underprivileged boys,” Gant said. ”When I was nine years old I started working the camp store for my father.”
Gant also mentioned there were some perks. “I wanted to drink the orange drinks, eat the ice cream, and eat the Moon Pies,” Gant said. “You never know what you’re going to learn. I learned mental math. My students know I can mentally add, subtract, multiply and divide, all from that summer job.”
Show up every day, show up early, and do what you are asked to do, [and] everything will be fine.”
— economics teacher Walt Ellison
Math teacher Heather McNally’s first job was at a deli. She said that there were some upsides to working at a deli. “My friends would come in and visit me,” McNally said. “I wanted to have my own money to spend, and my parents didn’t buy me anything. I paid for my own gas for my car.”
She also said there were some struggles with managing a job. “I had to prioritize with getting all my work done for school, cheerleading, I was in chorus, and drama as well,” McNally said. McNally advised that students need to learn to balance all the aspects of their lives.
Economics and current events teacher Walt Ellison’s first job was at the Great American Cookie Company. Ellison explained that he was not forced to have a job. “I wanted some spending money,” Ellison said. “My mom and dad were paying for gas, so it wasn’t like I had to do it, but I wanted some money.”
Ellison provided some advice for students getting their first jobs. “Attention to detail matters,” Ellison said. “Show up every day, show up early, and do what you are asked to do, [and] everything will be fine.”
Summer jobs teach skills such as time management, communication, using available resources, patience, money management, and independence. They can also teach valuable life lessons that will travel with students no matter what they end up doing with their lives.
May 1, 2019 - Junior Kara Dial blocks an opposing Union Grove player. The Lady Panthers defeated the Union Grove Wolverines 5-1. The girls will play the Carrollton Trojans May 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the Elite Eight.
Two teens’ lives will change in a single day after they cross paths, though neither knows how much the other will impact them. When Natasha Kingsley and Daniel Bae meet and get onto the topic of the universe, together they are forced to test the limits of fate.
Since Natasha and her family are being deported back to Jamaica the next day, she refuses to believe that any kind of luck will save her.”
— Staff Writer Jordan Owens
“The Sun Is Also a Star” features “black-ish” actress Yara Shahidi and “Riverdale” actor Charles Melton. It is the newest young adult romance movie that released May 17.
When Daniel notices Natasha on the subway, he follows a series of coincidences that leads him to her. After seeing her numerous times, Daniel starts to believe that the two of them meeting is fate. Though for Natasha, it is not. Since Natasha and her family are being deported back to Jamaica the next day, she refuses to believe that any kind of luck will save her. Upon hearing this, Daniel is given a day to convince Natasha that love, luck, and fate are real.
This film received mixed reactions on its opening weekend from both its audience and critics. After spending about $9 million on the movie, it only made $2.6 million. Although in a movement to support films made by minorities, major companies are buying out movie theaters and using #BlackAndGoldOpen in the following weeks to help boost the film’s income because of its depiction of interracial romance.
Even though this movie seems like another cliché teen romance film, it is actually the complete opposite. The only thing that is cliché is the fact the two characters fall in love in a day. Otherwise, their lives and struggles are exactly what today’s teens deal with.
While falling for Natasha, Daniel is dealing with expectations brought onto him with being first-generation Korean American. The day he meets Natasha, Daniel has an interview with Dartmouth alumni to get a scholarship into their school of medicine.
Shahidi’s character though deals with the more controversial topic of immigration. Just like many youth in America, Natasha is a dreamer. When there is a random ICE raid at her father’s job, her family faces deportation. Throughout the movie, Natasha goes with Daniel to the different bureaus in New York City to find someone who can help her at least postpone the deportation.
“The Sun Is Also a Star,” is the movie adaptation to Nicola Yoon’s book “The Sun Is Also a Star,” released in September of 2016. Like all movie adaptations, this film does not follow the same details in the book page by page, though it still manages to do the book justice.
The film changes parts of the plot so the audience will be able to relate more. Such as how Natasha’s family is found out for being undocumented. In the book, it is her father, after coming from home a bar drunk, who tells a cop how they came to America undocumented. With this change, Natasha and her father are able to have a better relationship in the movie than they do in the novel.
“The Sun Is Also a Star” is a film that brings to light subjects that are not usually talked about in young adult romance movies, and despite the cliché of the main plot, it is a movie worth seeing.
Assistant principal Brandi Meeks has been selected as this month’s Golden Apple winner presented by Tim Monihan and Farmers Insurance.
I think that she is a superb educator when she was in the classroom, and, as an administrator, I think she’s empathetic towards both teachers and students.”
— April Golden Apple winner Lela Crowder
Meeks has always wanted to be a teacher and has spent 22 years teaching, this being the first year she has been an assistant principal. Because of her perspective as both an administrator and a teacher, she is able to work well with both students and co-workers.
“I think that she has a lot of really beautiful character traits,” previous Golden Apple winner Lela Crowder said. “I think that she is a superb educator when she was in the classroom, and, as an administrator, I think she’s empathetic towards both teachers and students. She’s been kind to me personally, but even more importantly I’ve seen her be kind to students.”
When Meeks was a teacher, she taught Spanish. Her inspiration for becoming a teacher began with her mother, but her interest in the language began when she was in high school. She had a job at a restaurant where two of her fellow workers only spoke Spanish.
Her co-workers wanted to learn her language, so eventually she was teaching them English while they taught her Spanish. Meeks grew to see Spanish as a way to bring people closer together.
“Spanish is a lot of fun though. You can do a lot with it. Not just with people, but in the classroom,” Meeks said. “You can kind of be elementary with it and play games, and sing songs, and eat food.”
Meeks not only kept her classroom in a fun environment, but it was also one where students could really learn and understand what they were being introduced to.
“You can be a great person, but in order to be an effective teacher, you have to effectively be able to pass on the content — the subject matter — that you’re teaching to your students,” Crowder said.
This year, however, instead of being in the classroom, she has been involved with organizing the Georgia Milestone testing, the Governor’s Honors Program, and graduation.
“[My inspiration is] just the joy of watching you guys,” Meeks said. “The relationships that you form, the connections that you make, and then to see y’all later and what you’ve accomplished. It’s always been a joy for me.”
Meeks’ kindness and love for teaching has brought her this far in her career, and others who look closely can see that.
It all began with her mother and a restaurant that brought her to the classroom. Now she is the assistant principal receiving the final Golden Apple award of the 2018-2019 school year.