Dougherty County's STAR Student of 2013, Kaitlyn Yarborough, center, of Deerfield-Windsor School, is flanked by STAR teacher Debbie Allen, left, and Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard during the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce's 53rd annual STAR Student/Teacher Luncheon Friday at Doublegate Country Club. (March 1, 2013)
ALBANY, Ga. -- For the second year in a row, a Deerfield-Windsor School student has been named Dougherty County's STAR student.
Kaitlyn Yarborough was selected as STAR student for 2013 at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce's 53rd Annual STAR Student/Teacher luncheon Friday at Doublegate Country Club.
Kaitlyn is the daughter of Wendy and Robbie Yarborough.
Yarborough's favorite teacher, Debbie Allen, was named the county's STAR (Student, Teacher Achievement Recognition) Teacher of the Year.
In addition to Yarborough and Allen, three other county students and teachers were honored.
Katherine Godwin and teacher Leigh Shepherd represented Albany High School. Annalise Clem and her mother and teacher, Stacy Clem, represented Sherwood Christian Academy. Kawsi Wrensford and teacher Brian Collier represented Westover High School.
Dougherty and Monroe high schools were not represented.
"I'd like to thank the chamber for honoring the best and brightest of Dougherty County," Dougherty Interim School Superintendent Butch Mosely said. "I'd like to extend my congratulations to all the students and teachers honored here today."
Chamber Education Committee Chair Ron Wallace also was effusive in his praise.
"I am excited and proud to be a part of this event," Wallace said. "I didn't know much about these kids when I learned their names, so I did some research on Facebook and I was happy with what I saw."
Yarborough, who has college applications pending with Vanderbilt, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and Stanford, is unsure of the major she will pursue in college, but is certain it will involve writing.
"Mrs. Allen always has stressed writing skills and she played a really important role during my senior year," Yarborough said "She definitely helped strengthen my writing and she has been a mentor to me."
For her part, Allen said teaching is a labor of love.
"One thing is certain, we don't do it for the money," Allen said prompting laughter from the room. "All teachers know why we do it. We do it for the love of the game. Students like Kaitlyn are joys to teach. Every day she was in my class she was like a little sponge absorbing everything.
"She really made my job easy."
SCA's Clem had a different story. Her favorite teacher is also her mother, Stacy.
"I have the added benefit of seeing my teacher at school and at home," the younger Clem said. "She has shaped me into the young woman I am today."
Yarborough and Allen will now advance to regional STAR competition, set for later this month in Americus.