By JOHN SCOTT COOPER Staff Writer
Abby Grimes earned the title of STAR Student with her high SAT scores and by being in the Top 10 percent academically in her graduating class. She arrived early for Friday’s lunch — even helped in its planning and preparation. Her grandfather, Waycross Journal-Herald publisher Roger Williams sat and talked with her while other attendees arrived.
After others of her family and most other guests were present, Christan Bush was ushered in and was stunned to hear the words from Abby, “You’re my STAR teacher!” Bush knew it had to be true; her husband and one of her sons were among those waiting for her in the Bistro at the high school.
Before anyone could fill a plate with the good eats, Kristy Foreman, chair of the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce, officially introduced Grimes, and Grimes, explaining why she chose Bush, then gave the teacher a gift of flowers.
Grimes said, as she introduced her STAR Teacher that she chose her because of “how she cared for me, as well as taught me. And she cares for other students. She’s written recommendations for many students,” Grimes chuckled and said, “She gave us snacks when we were hungry.”
And Grimes appreciated the independence Bush gave to her. “She let me do my own thing — work independently — as long as what I was doing was meeting the goal.”
As they chatted, Grimes told her grandfather that she had a recent interview with “UPenn,” the University of Pennsylvania. Williams said the school she had said is her ultimate choice is Harvard.
Ware County School Superintendent Jim LeBrun was present to congratulate Grimes and Bush.
“This is one of my favorite occasions, a celebration of our students and our teachers,” LeBrun said. “It’s great because the student is not elected by her peers, she earned the honor, and the teacher earns the student’s respect and is chosen.”
For many years, the chambers of commerce in Georgia have partnered with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation to sponsor the STAR Student honors. The local community sponsor is United Community Bank, and representing the bank at the luncheon was Cindy Pierce.
In formally presenting Grimes as the school’s STAR, Foreman told how the PAGE Foundation “honors outstanding students and teachers and encourages academic excellence … (we) congratulate you, Betty “Abby” Grimes, for the excellence you represent.”
Abby’s parents Greg Grimes and Rachel Grimes, were at the event. Her other grandparents are Juline Eldred, Waycross, and Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Grimes, of Roswell.
Grimes and Bush will join a number of other STAR Students and Teachers at the Okefenokee Country Club on March 14 for the regional STAR Student celebration, where the region STAR will be named. The Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce again will host the event.