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MEC STAR program recognizes top 3 ALL-STAR scholars

Image courtesy of the Mississippi Economic Council

The Mississippi Economic Council’s (MEC) Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program has saluted the academic achievements of the state’s outstanding high school students and teachers for more than fifty years.  This year, the MEC M. B. Swayze Foundation has recognized 332 STAR students.

Here are the top three.
John C. Kees

A Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School student with a perfect 36 composite score on the American College Test (ACT), combined scores of 144 and average of 99.50 has been named Mississippi’s TOP ALL-STAR Scholars for 2020.  John C. Kees is the son of Laura and Kris Chris Kees of Jackson, MS.  John will receive a $24,000 scholarship provided by the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. Kees plans to attend college and study Biology.  Each STAR Student is asked to designate a STAR Teacher – the teacher who has made the greatest contribution to the student’s scholastic achievement.  Kees designated Thomas B. Riesenberger of Jackson as his STAR Teacher.  Riesenberger has been teaching for 9 years and this is his 1st time to be named STAR Teacher.

Riwad Arnob Iftekhar

Riwad Arnob Iftekhar, a Madison Ridgeland AcademySTAR Student, has been named 1st runner-up and will receive a $20,000 Scholarship from the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc.  His parents are Sadeka Tamanna and Iftekhar Ullah. Iftekhar designated Matthew B. Bramuchi of Madison as his STAR Teacher.  Bramuchi has been teaching for 17 years and this is his first time being named STAR Teacher.

Nathan F. Keen

Nathan F. Keen, a Tupelo High School STAR student, has been named 2nd runner- up and will receive a $16,000 Scholarship from the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc.  His parents are Fred and Melissa Keen.  Keen designated Jonathan C. Begnaud of Tupelo as his STAR Teacher.  Begnaud has been teaching for 10 years.  He has been named STAR Teacher 3 times.

Each STAR Teacher of the top three ALL-STAR Scholars received a $1,000 award.  One-time scholarship awards of $1,000 are provided to the remaining top 17 ALL-STAR Scholars.  The remaining 17 All-Star Teachers will each receive a $500 award.  The Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. provided $88,500 in scholarships and awards to STAR Students and STAR Teachers.

The theme for the 2020 Education Celebration was “Above and Beyond.”  This year the MEC’s M. B. Swayze Foundation recognized 332 STAR students. Each STAR Student received a medallion, lapel pin, and certificate in recognition of their academic achievements.

Click here to view the full Education Celebration Program.

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