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Nutial is Briarwood and Warren County STAR, chooses Dawkins as teacher

Briarwood Academy senior Sarah Nutial has been named the STAR Student for Briarwood Academy and Warren County, and she selected Anna Campbell Dawkins, her chemistry teacher and annual advisor, as her STAR teacher.

Sarah, the daughter of Scott and Mary Nutial of Thomson, will compete on the district level as the Warren County STAR Student. The STAR (Student/Teacher Achievement Recognition) program for Briarwood Academy is sponsored locally by the Warrenton Kiwanis Club.

"I was very pleased and excited, almost as much as my mama," Sarah said after learning of her achievement.

Sarah has attended Briarwood since the second grade.

"I attended huge schools in Indiana and South Carolina," said Sarah, who loves the intimacy of her small class of 17 at Briarwood. "You didn't get to connect with your classmates. It's such a small class, and we get along so well. Our personalities just mesh."

Sarah is president of the National Honor Society and served last year's graduating class as Junior Marshal. As a junior, she was recognized for academic achievement by the University of Georgia, Presbyterian College, Augusta College and State University and Wofford College. She received numerous other academic awards throughout high school including the DAR Outstanding Work in American History Award and the Lois McGinty Physical Science Scholarship.

She has been nominated for a National Merit Scholarship by Textron, Inc.

She was one of 105 selected as a Georgia delegate for the 2007 Washington (DC) Youth Tour by Jefferson Energy Electric Cooperative.

The recipient of 15 end-of-school year Highest Academic Average awards during her first three years of high school, Sarah has tutored other students at Briarwood, including a transfer student from Brazil in all subjects.

Sarah has served her class as vice-president since the ninth grade. She is a member of the annual staff, participated in four spring musicals with the Briarwood chorus and was a member of the cast of the 2007 one-act play.

Sarah has pitched for the Lady Bucs softball team since the eighth grade and was named a GISA All State player this year along with being named an All Region softball player for the fourth time. Sarah was a member of the Evans Dominators traveling softball team that placed second in the softball World Series in 2007. She coached a McDuffie Country Recreation Department 11-and 12-year-old girls youth softball team in 2007 and 2008.

Sarah is the starting center for the Lady Bucs basketball team.

Sarah's mother, Mary, is a 1978 Briarwood graduate; her sister, Laura, is a 2003 Briarwood graduate; and her sister, Linda, is a 2004 Briarwood graduate.

Sarah will follow in her sister, Linda's, footsteps and attend the Georgia Institute of Technology. She plans to major in chemistry.

Sarah is the granddaughter of Mrs. Mary McCorkle of Camak. The family attends Macedonia Methodist Church.

"Of course I was honored to be chosen as her STAR, but, also, it was just as big an honor to me to learn that she has chosen to go into the field of chemistry," said STAR teacher Mrs. Dawkins. "Sarah is an incredibly well-rounded student - good grades, athletics. She has a wonderful work ethic coupled with the ability to grasp all of the material presented. When you teach her, she doesn't talk. She listens … intently."

Sarah had similar praise for her teacher and advisor.

"She didn't settle for being a good teacher; she worked to be a great one, and she is. It's not just me. The rest of the class loves her, too.

"She's one of the teachers who has the ability to explain things in a way you can understand," Sarah continued, and then adds with a grin, "She talks with her hands. "No question is too insignificant for her to answer. If anyone ever needs extra help, she'll always stay."

A 2003 graduate of Briarwood, Mrs. Dawkins served as valedictorian of her 2003 graduating class at Briarwood as well as valedictorian of her 2007 graduating class at Emmanuel College. She holds a B.S. in biology. She also received the Faculty Award and the Biology Department Award from Emmanuel.

Among many academic honors received at Briarwood, Mrs. Dawkins was also named Gold Medalist Student in 2003. She was a varsity cheerleader and was editor of the Briarwood Academy yearbook, for which she now serves as advisor.

Mrs. Dawkins and her husband, Al, a sixth grade teacher in Wilkes County, who was named the 2007-2008 Teacher of the Year for Washington-Wilkes Middle School, reside in their native Lincolnton.

They are both involved with the youth and children's ministry at First Assembly of God in Lincolnton.

Web posted on Thursday, February 19, 2009

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