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Lee STAR student, teacher to be honored

LEESBURG -- Education will be the central theme at the Lee County Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues breakfast at the Grand Island Country Club next Tuesday morning.

The highlight of the 7 a.m. program will be recognition of Lee County High School's 2011 STAR student and teacher, Jenna Hegarty and Sara Martin, respectively. The primary topic of discussion during Eggs and Issues will be continuation of the county's E-SPLOST, a special 1 percent sales tax collected for educational uses.

Also, Lee County Middle School Principal Susan Manry will be the featured speaker.

"Quite frankly, we would not be able to do the things we do in the Lee County School System without SPLOST funds," Superintendent Larry Walters said Monday. "Without this special tax, we would have to look at funding from ad valorem and property taxes, which would not be popular.

"Our primary goal with this new SPLOST (which will be on the ballot as part of a countywide referendum March 15) will be the construction of a new elementary school for grades 3, 4 and 5. That will allow us to divide our middle school and place students in grades 6, 7 and 8 at the current Lee Elementary School. We're approaching 1,600 students in our current middle school, and that's getting tough to manage."

Hegarty, the daughter of Peggy Hegarty, has visited a number of colleges, but has not decided which one she will attend. She selected Martin, her advanced placement literature/composition teacher, as her STAR teacher.

The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program, sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education, is in its 53rd year. STAR student nominees must have the highest score on a single SAT test date and be in the top 10 percent (or top 10 students) in their class based on grade-point average.

The Eggs and Issues program, which is sponsored by Darton College and Colony Bank, kicks off with coffee and networking at 6:30 a.m. Individual tickets are $12, while tables are available for $80.

For information, contact the chamber at (229) 759-2422.