MOULTRIE, Ga. — The Kiwanis Club of Moultrie proudly recognized the 2021 STAR Student and Teacher of the year at a recent meeting.
STAR stands for the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program, which recognizes Georgia’s highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in those students’ academic development.
Ashley Ma is this year’s Colquitt County recipient with a 1380 SAT score, coming in at the top of her class, and she chose Thad Brown as her STAR Teacher. Brown taught Ma honors Georgia studies in the eighth grade, but he’s now the graduation specialist at the Colquitt County Achievement Center.
Ma has been a HOSA Club Member from 9th through 12th grades, was a Student Ambassador and Future Business Leaders of America member in 11th and 12th grades and Peer Leadership Member in 12th grade. She’s a graduate of the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Colquitt County program. Her major activities outside of school include varsity volleyball, Youth Against Child Trafficking (12th grade) and Colquitt Regional Medical Center youth volunteer (Gold Level – 500-hour minimum). She is secretary to Mike Ma’s poultry business (8th-12th grade).
As Ma addressed the club, she shared what events and experiences influenced her.
“My life and personality are heavily based on every event, experience and people that I have interacted with,” she said. “One of my most memorable experiences, that has left a significant imprint on me, happened recently over my quarantined summer. During the height of the social media’s uproar which highlighted the Black Lives Matter movement, I did what I believed was right by signing multiple petitions and donating money. It felt extremely enlightening to actively participate in a movement that empowers and gives a united voice for the people who need to be heard. It made me realize one of my true passions in life and possibly in my future career is to make a positive change in someone’s life.”
Ma plans to pursue a business-related career and is considering attending the University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Southern, and the University of Oklahoma. She added, “It feels reassuring and rewarding that my efforts have been recognized.”
When asked how he felt about being recognized as this year’s STAR Teacher, Brown explained, “You go do your job as a teacher and don’t do it for the accolades, you know… You just go in there every day and hope it sticks. This is awesome and humbling.”