BC STAR destined for ‘great things’

Published 9:24 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Bogue Chitto’s Charlsie Grace Wilson was recently named the school’s 2019 STAR student, and that award came after a lot of effort and preparation.

Wilson, daughter of Jason and Trinidy Wilson, wasn’t satisfied with the ACT score she got in 10th grade. Her 21 was more than enough to get her into any Mississippi college, but she wanted more. So she took it two more times as a junior, increasing her score each time — first to 24, then 25. After more study and with another attempt, she reached her final score of 27.

“I bought an ACT workbook and I concentrated on math, because it was my lowest sub score,” Wilson said.

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For 15 minutes every evening, she would review practice questions.

“If I understood the formulas, I would write a checkmark at the top right corner of the page. If I didn’t, I would mark an X and go over that page when I did study sessions with my aunt, Melane Crosby,” she said.

Crosby is a kindergarten teacher at Bogue Chitto, but “explains higher math very well,” Wilson said, and taught her a lot.

The 17-year-old has had a busy senior year as dance team captain, a Hall of Fame inductee, president of the student council, vice president of her senior class, editor of The Blue & Gold school newspaper and a member of the Lady Cats basketball team. She also had the highest overall grade point average for her senior year and earned the honor of salutatorian.

The academic honors of salutatorian and STAR student are a plus as she heads to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the fall. Her play is to study marine biology, earning her associates degree at MGCCC, then her bachelor’s at Louisiana State University then continuing on to The University of West Florida in Pensacola for her master’s degree. The schools’ locations are important to her, as well as their academic offerings — she’ll get to spend part of her time studying in fresh water and part in salt water.

“I want to study marine biology because oceans cover 70 percent of our earth’s surface, and our waters are in crisis because we don’t understand them or take care of them like we should,” she said.

As a certified scuba diver, Wilson said being on and under the water is where she feels most at home.

Wilson chose history, government and economics teacher Chase Wallace as her STAR teacher.

Wallace, 30, is a lifelong resident of Bogue Chitto. He’s taught for eight years, with the past four at his alma mater — three of those with Wilson as his student.

He was selected as Bogue Chitto’s Teacher of the Year in 2017 and was also chosen as STAR teacher in 2018.

“It is an absolute honor to be chosen as the STAR teacher at Bogue Chitto. I work alongside some incredible teachers each and every day, and to be chosen for this award really is special to me,” he said.

Wilson said she chose Wallace because he deserved it.

“He believes in all his students and you can tell that when you are around him. He has a way of making every kid feel like they belong and can succeed if they want to,” she said.

“Kids are important to him and he wants to see everyone reach their potential. He doesn’t just say that — he lives that,” said Wilson.

Wilson will miss Wallace’s classes and is grateful that her teacher pushed her harder than some  of her other instructors.

“We never wanted to leave his class because he made history exciting and interesting. Sitting in his class was like sitting in the middle of whatever historic event he was talking about that day,” she said.

For students planning on taking the ACT, whether for their first time or for another of multiple attempts, Wallace and Wilson both stress working hard and being prepared.

“Be prepared, but not nervous. Have your pencils and be on time,” Wilson said.

She said she was able to improve more once she understood that she wasn’t being tested on just remembering facts — she needed to understand how to read charts and graphs, and she had to pace herself. A stopwatch helped her keep track of time spent on different parts of the test. She also shared a tip to stay focused.

“Bring peppermint candy and chew on it to give your brain a perk up when you get really tired and lose focus during the test,” she said.

Wallace said his advice was simple — work hard.

“Go out and earn your score. Do things the right way. Successful people are not always gifted. They just work harder than others, and succeed on purpose,” he said.

That strategy worked for Wilson and she plans to keep working hard in order to attain her goal of being a marine biologist.

“Charlsie is one of the hardest working students I have ever been around,” Wallace said. “I can’t wait to see how well she represents Bogue Chitto school and our community going forward. She is going to do great things.”