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EAC STARs positively want to make a difference

Enterprise Attendance Center STAR student Kinley Miller hasn’t gone around bragging about her accomplishment. She doesn’t have to. Her chosen STAR teacher, Karen Dunaway, is happy to do it for her.

“I have taught Kinley for five years. I have taught her Spanish I, Spanish II, English III and dual enrollment English Composition I and II,” said Dunaway. “She is honest, hardworking, compassionate, enthusiastic, cooperative and dedicated to all her activities and organizations in which she participates.”

Miller, 18, is cheer captain, yearbook editor and president of Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America and her senior class. She’s a member of the Senior Beta Club and the school’s academic team, and is — of course — on the All-A honor roll.

She scored a 28 out of a possible 36 on the American College Test, the test by which the Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition program bases its awards. The average ACT score nationwide is 25.6, with the state average at 18.6. The average score for college freshmen in Mississippi is 25.

The daughter of James and Stacey Miller of Bogue Chitto, Miller plans to attend the University of Mississippi and study political science and accounting. Dunaway believes Miller will excel in her studies and in life because she is a perfectionist who always works hard to be her best in everything she does.

“She is one of the most determined students I have ever had the opportunity to teach,” said Dunaway.

“I admire her for setting goals and that she lets nothing stand in her way to achieve them. She will go on to make a positive difference in the world.”

The five-time recipient of the STAR teacher designation says she hopes she is making a positive difference herself. She’s always known that her life’s purpose was to be involved in education, having been inspired by her high school teachers to impart knowledge and character to others.

“I believe if we instill and expect responsibility, respect, organization, morals, etc., in the classroom, it will transfer to the students’ everyday lives. The students rise to the standards that teachers hold for them,” she said.

Dunaway has been teaching almost 24 years and says she is still learning patience, goodness and kindness from her students — the Enterprise student body is one of the most giving and caring groups she has ever had the pleasure of teaching, she said.

It’s something she sees in Miller and her fellow students, who often go out of their way to help others who are in need, even when they may be in need themselves.

Dunaway calls her students her “kiddos” because she claims them as her own and wants them to know she cares about them, and wants what is best for them.

“Sometimes teaching doesn’t come from a textbook or a lesson plan. It comes from a routine — a ‘How are you today?’ a ‘Great job in last night’s game,’ an ‘I know you can do better’ or just a glance in their direction when they are off task,” she said.

“This is what makes them know you care.”