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STAR student stays busy at Briarwood

She made it sound simple.

"School, church, basketball -- that's pretty much my life," Briarwood senior Maggie Keene said.

She obviously gave the condensed version. Maggie is the 2011 STAR student at Briarwood Academy, where she is a guard on the basketball team, a competitive baton twirler, member of the annual staff, president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a member of the National Honor Society. She also tutors students after school.

Next year, Maggie plans to attend the University of Georgia and major in math education. She aspires to pursue a doctorate in math education and "be a professor somewhere." Maggie is following in the footsteps of her STAR teacher -- Hannah DeMore.

"That's just where I went and what I majored in," the calculus and geometry teacher said.

Mrs. DeMore has been teaching at Briarwood for four years. Maggie said she will never forget her first day in Mrs. DeMore's class, when Mrs. DeMore announced that the students would need notebooks.

"We looked at each other like she was crazy," Maggie said. "We'd never taken notes in math before. She's the first teacher to push me beyond what I thought I could do."

That driving motivation extended beyond the classroom. Mrs. DeMore is the assistant coach of the varsity girls basketball team. Maggie said she had always been point guard until this year, when she had to take on the post position.

"She showed me how to be effective even if the opponent is 6 foot tall. She's short, too, so she knew what it was like," Maggie said.

Even though Maggie spends almost every afternoon in Mrs. DeMore's classroom after school working on extra math problems, Mrs. DeMore had no idea she would be STAR teacher. She said Headmaster John Hammond called her into his office "to talk about softball stuff, because I'm the softball coach, too." When Mrs. DeMore walked in, she wondered why Maggie was there because Maggie does not play softball.

"So I thought, 'This is weird,' " Mrs. DeMore said. "I didn't know what to think. It was a big surprise."

The daughter of Steve and April Keene, Maggie has also played the piano for New Hope Baptist Church's praise band since she was 12. She hopes to use her experiences this summer when she works as an intern for Georgia Youth Ministries.

The Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition, or STAR, title is awarded annually to the student who scores the highest grade in the school on the Scholastic Assessment Test college entrance exam while remaining in the top 10 percent of his or her class. Each STAR student chooses a teacher who has been the biggest influence to be a STAR teacher.

Maggie and Mrs. DeMore will represent Warren County at the Region STAR Banquet in March.

Web posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

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