In front of cheering classmates, faculty, family and friends, Bryan County High School senior Reed Walker was named the school’s STAR student Monday. She, in turn, named Keith Corbin as her STAR teacher.
For both, the award handed out annually by the Pembroke Lion’s Club and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators is a big deal.
“The STAR student award is one ofthe many fruits of all the hard work that I put into studying and practicing for the SAT,” Walker said. “I've went through at least 15 practice exams, and 45 hours alone. I also spent more time than that just simply studying. The STAR student award is now recognizing all that hard work.”
Corbin, who teaches AP macroeconomics, economics and AP U.S. History and has taught Walker in two AP classes, thanked the Lions Club and said he was honored.
“I’m very excited and proud to represent Reed. There are just a lot of talented teachers here and to get it is a real honor,” Corbin said.
He called Walker “one of the most intellectually gifted students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching.”
But it’s determination that perhaps sets Walker apart, he said.
“What pushes her over the top is her work ethic,” Corbin said. “She has a phenomenal work ethic. And she has a really dry sense of humor, it can be scorching at times, and that’s where we kind of connected.”
Walker, who will attend Georgia Tech – she was also accepted at UGA – thanked Corbin for “always giving the best advice in the world, and reminding me of the value of putting in the hard work.”
But Walker, who hails from a family that includes six siblings, Brooke Edwards, Morgan Walker, Michael Edwards, Rosie Walker, Eli and John Lawrence Edwards; her stepfather, Jason Edwards, and biological father, Hal Walker and his wife Ashley, had others she wanted to thank -- starting with her mother, Katie Edwards.
“First, I'd like to thank my mother. She is my drive. She is my heart. Also, I'd like to thank D'lee Pollock-Moore, as her classroom preparations for the AP Language exam certainly had a huge impact on my SAT reading score, and her example always led me in the perfect direction,” Walker said. “Steven Jarrell, for being one of the best math teachers I've ever had … I'd also like to thank my daddy for being, by far, the biggest stimulate of my creativity and, my stepfather, grandparents, my sister, Brooke, and the rest of my family for supporting me with love throughout my life.
Walker, who also thanked the Lion’s Club, is an aspiring surgeon, either as an ophthalmologist or plastic surgeon, though “a goal of mine more visible on the horizon is wanting to graduate from Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in either mathematics or physics,” she said.
She’s played varsity golf for three years, has a 3.8 gpa and is secretary of the Science Club. Walker is the BCHS Technology Student Association senior vice president. She’s also an AP scholar and Georgia certificate of merit recipient.
Pembroke Lion’s Club President Bill Anderson said both Walker and Corbin are deserving winners. Katie Edwards, a school nurse, said her daughter achieves what she sets out to do.
“She’s self-disciplined and a go-getter who has always known what she she’s wanted to do and has done everything necessary to achieve her goals thus far,” Edwards said. “I’m proud of her more than I can say. She wants to be a surgeon, and I have no doubt in my mind she will be able to accomplish that goal.”