She remembered a "bright little fella."
He remembered a nerd.
Now they are both the STARS of McDuffie County. Thomson High School senior Sam Lemley was named this year's STAR student and he selected his second grade teacher, Anne Kellogg as his STAR teacher.
"I remembered she was very supportive. I was very nerdy and brought a dictionary to school every day. "She laid the foundation for me wanting to learn," Sam said.
The Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition title is awarded annually to the student who scored the highest grade in the school on the Scholastic Assessment Test college entrance exam while remaining in the top 10 percent of their class.
Each STAR student chooses a teacher whom they feel has been their biggest influence as their STAR teacher. When Mrs. Kellogg learned that she had been selected, she said "it was really just a thrill."
"Oh, it was really a shock. But it was a wonderful surprise and an honor," The Thomson Elementary School teacher said. "I'm very humbled by it. "It's just hard to believe because I'm in the elementary level."
But with her 22 years of experience teaching second graders, Mrs. Kellogg was not surprised to hear that Sam was the STAR student.
"I knew that he would go far in life. He was just a bright little fella, enjoyed learning, was extremely intelligent, respectful, well-liked by his peers," she said. "I just remember him having an extensive vocabulary and soaking up information. I really had to be on my toes when I taught him. And he was just a happy child, too."
Evidently Sam had his fill of that dictionary he used to carry around with him. After graduation, he said he is going to the University of Georgia where he will major in a language.
"Any language, preferably not English," he said "I've already done enough of that."
He hopes to use his degree and go into foreign diplomacy - a perfect career for the elementary student who was "intelligent, respectful and well-liked by his peers."
Even though it's been 10 years since he was in her classroom, Mrs. Kellogg said she saw Sam quite a bit because he played in the band in middle and high school, as did her daughter and son.
"He has always been real sweet and respectful. Some students don't ever speak to you, but Sam does and always has. He just smiles and we chit-chat," she said.
Sam said he plays the French horn in the THS marching band, is in the Beta Club, on the SKILLS U.S.A. math competitive team and was recently named the Class of 2009 Valedictorian with his 98.5 grade point average. His parents are Dr. Robert and Amy Lemley, and his sister, Elizabeth, is a ninth grader at Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School.
"Mom and Dad told both Liz and I that they would still love us even if we made Fs on our report card, but have helped us study if we struggle," Sam said in a press release issued Monday by the high school. "They have proofread countless papers."
In his spare time, Sam said he likes "doing big projects." Last year, he and three of his classmates built a huge trebuchet for a science project, and held demonstrations during open house at THS. This year, he and his friends are planning a band for the school's talent show, and he has been practicing the guitar for that.
"I like to try different things and learn new things," he said.
Mrs. Kellogg lives in Thomson with her husband, George, and their children Luke and Sarah. Mrs. Kellogg has both her bachelor's and master's degrees in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University. She has been an elementary school teacher for 30 years, 22 of those teaching second grade in McDuffie County. She was selected by her peers as the Teacher of the Year for Thomson Elementary in 1995, but this is her first time to be selected a STAR teacher.
"It just really makes teaching worthwhile when you have a student remember you and come back and say they remember something you did to touch their life. It gives you a positive attitude to hear that," Mrs. Kellogg said. "It makes you feel good about your job, because you hope and pray that you touch them in a positive way."
Sam and Mrs. Kellogg will represent McDuffie County as Sam will vie for the Region 7 STAR student title, which includes a 13-county region, at a banquet sponsored by Georgia Power Co. in late March.