It is with great pride that Seminole County Middle/High School announces the STAR Student and STAR Teacher for 2023. This year’s STAR student is William Malory Miller, Jr. (Will). Will has selected Mr. Keith Helms as his STAR teacher.
Will Miller is the son of Malory and Laura Miller and the brother of Jeb Miller. He has attended Seminole County Schools since kindergarten. Will is honored to be named the 2022-2023 STAR student and would like to thank his teachers, friends, and family for supporting him throughout his journey.
Will has received several academic and leadership awards in FFA. He served as the local Treasurer, Second Vice President, and currently serves as Vice President in FFA, and he was awarded FFA Highest Average in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade. Will participates in many contests, such as Farm Business Management, Swine Record Book, and Agricultural Mechanics. Outside of FFA, he was a recipient of the Georgia Certificate of Merit and the Rural and Small Town Recognition Award. He was also honored with the invitation to be a Junior Marshall in the 2021-2022 graduation ceremony. In school, Will received the highest average in Honors Biology, Accelerated Pre-Calculus, Honors Chemistry, and many other honors courses. In addition, he is proud to be a member of the National Honor Society for the past three years. Even with his rigorous academic schedule, Will has been able to balance 3 years of Baseball, 1 year of Tennis, and 2 years of Football. After high school, he plans to attend the University of Georgia majoring in Engineering.
Will has had numerous outstanding teachers throughout his years at Seminole County. After much consideration, he chose Mr. Keith Helms to be his STAR teacher. Mr. Helms was Will’s Accelerated Algebra 1 teacher his freshman year of high school. Will says, “Even though my ninth grade school year was cut short due to COVID-19, I knew Mr. Helms was going to be my favorite math teacher; he is very organized, knows his material, and teaches it in a way that his students can easily understand. My favorite part of his class was learning about why math formulas work. I have always wondered why we are taught certain concepts in school, especially in math, because I did not understand their importance. When I finally found a teacher that addressed my curiosity, I was able to pick up on information faster and easier, which allowed me to excel not only in his class but other classes in the future. I strongly believe that if he had never taught me to understand the “why” behind math problems, I would not be able to learn as efficiently as I do now. Mr. Helms is an excellent teacher, and I hate COVID-19 cut my class time with him short because I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Keith Helms is a 2004 graduate of Seminole County High School. He majored in Biology and Mathematics while attending ABAC Bainbridge (formerly Bainbridge College). From there, he attended Troy University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. At that point, he returned to his alma mater and began his teaching career. He first taught 8th grade Pre-Algebra before moving to high school where he now teaches Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. Mr. Helms stated that he wanted to return to Seminole County schools in order to give back to the community and school system that provided him with a stellar education and preparedness for higher learning. He is the son of Lynn and the late Kenny Helms, and brother to Lindsey Helms-McKnight.
Mr. Helms states “Being chosen as STAR teacher by a student like Will Miller has to be one of the highlights of my career. This only further instills in me the drive to produce for my students the very best educational experience I can provide, just like my teachers did for me here at Seminole. Having taught Will Accelerated Algebra 1 during his freshman year, I can say that he is absolutely the quintessential student, and any faculty member will attest to that. His level of dedication and willingness to go beyond mediocrity is oftentimes unparalleled. Good enough has never been good enough for Will Miller. At a time when people, not just students, get discouraged because of a lack of immediate gratification, Will stands out as one who keeps his eye on the long-term prize. He sets his sights on his ultimate goals and that is what he strives for. Bumps in the road do not discourage him. They simply serve as stepping stones from which to learn and grow as a person and student, further paving the path to his inevitable goal. Academics aside, Will also has to be one of the most respectful and polite students I have taught. This not only applies to his instructors and administrators, but also to his peers. Always a team player, Will has the ability to work well with anyone in order to reach a common goal. This, along with impeccable academics, makes Will an amazing asset to any institution, educational or otherwise. It is without a doubt that we will all witness Will Miller accomplish great things throughout the remainder of his academic career, professional career, and lifetime. As any teacher would say, it is an honor and privilege to have been a part of that kind of legacy.”
Mr. Shane Purdy, Principal, shares, “The STAR recognition program was created to focus public attention on Georgia’s outstanding high school students and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. It is indeed an honor for Seminole County to have such deserving students and faculty to support this most prestigious program. We congratulate both Will and Mr. Helms on receiving these honors and recognition. One of the many rewards of serving as an administrator is having the opportunity to see students and faculty members honored in such a way as these two are being honored through the STAR program. I am extremely proud of our faculty and student body at Seminole County Middle/High School and humbled to serve in helping prepare the young people of our county with the best possible education in leading them to become our citizens of tomorrow. Congratulations again to Will, Mr. Helms, their families and all who have had a part in achieving this highest of honors.”
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education. Since its inception, the STAR program has honored thousands of students and the teachers selected on the basis of their SAT scores, class standing and scholastic averages. The STAR student is the graduating senior who has earned the highest SAT score and is in the top 10% of the graduating class.