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Rackley and Kitchens Recognized as STARs

(Milledgeville, GA) March 9, 2004 – Georgia Military College high school senior Katie Rackley was acknowledged as a top academic scholar in Baldwin County, during the Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program held at the Milledgeville Country Club on Tuesday, March 2, 2004.

COL Jim LeBrun, Principal of GMC High School, introduced Miss Rackley, by stating, “ The STAR student for GMC this year is Katie Rackley. She is the daughter of Terry and Patricia Rackley. She has attended GMC since the sixth grade. Family involvement means a great deal to Katie. Her family has been fostering children for more than five years and has positively impacted the lives of more than 50 children in their care. Katie has volunteered her time for many organizations including Special Olympics, Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, and Locks of Love. She is an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Katie has been a member of GMC’s cheerleading squad since her freshman year and currently serves as captain. She is also involved in the GMC Chorus and Senior Ensemble. Honors and awards include GA Merit Award, Presbyterian Jr. Fellow, NYLC Ambassador, Bausch & Laumb Science Award and the 2003 Baldwin County Junior Miss. Katie has been the top academic student at GMC her freshman, sophomore, and junior years.”

Katie graciously accepted recognition as GMC’s STAR student with the following remarks: “My parents have always been the key motivators in my life. At an early age, I learned that success in school pleased my parents and gave me great satisfaction as well. Unlike most of my high school friends, I transferred schools many times before entering GMC’s middle school. However, I never forgot the importance of academic excellence. Through the opportunity of attending many schools, I had the privilege of receiving an education from a variety of teachers and experiencing their unique methods of instruction. Their passion for helping others succeed illustrated to me the joy one can obtain through educating young people. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Georgia in June. Maj. Duane Kitchens received a Masters Degree in Biology from Georgia College and State University and has been teaching chemistry and physics for the past 18 years. He has worked as an Environmental Technologist with the Georgia Water Quality Program for three years and has traveled statewide monitoring biological and chemical changes in Georgia’s streams and rivers. Maj. Kitchens is also an active participant in the “Adopt a Stream Program,” which is a volunteer river monitoring program. Science has been a true passion of mine for many years, and Maj. Kitchens’ class was one of the most challenging I’ve ever taken. I thoroughly enjoyed the way that he taught because he expected students to think more deeply about the material he presented. He encouraged me to rise above his expectations and constantly praised me for a job well done. Although an extremely busy man, he always made time for me, and I felt as if I had his full attention. His vast array of knowledge on the subject matter also amazed me. I felt as though I could ask him any question relating to science, and he could give me an educated answer. The way that Maj. Kitchens dealt with the challenges he faced inside and outside the classroom impressed me. Not only was he my science teacher, Maj. Kitchens taught me many life lessons as well.”

Mr. Kitchens thanked Katie for choosing him as her STAR teacher by saying, “My association with Katie spans two years as I provided instruction in honors biology and honors chemistry. It is my habit to challenge students on a daily basis – challenges Katie never failed. She is an extremely focused individual. Katie’s intense persona developed a character of high proficiency and uniquely deep intellect. She is able to assimilate broad concepts, understanding relationships between events, time and space. Her ability to connect abstract and tangible environmental variables seems to be innate. The only possible liability I have observed is Katie’s unending desire to see the truth. Unfortunately, it has placed her in some not so popular situations due to her strong beliefs. To her credit, she has not compromised her beliefs of sense of self for the sake of satisfying others. In time Katie’s quest for truth will become a well-groomed tool for success. The aforementioned attributes have led Katie to stunning success here at GMC and will propel her on an amazing post GMC journey. I am extremely pleased that Katie has chosen UGA to reach other horizons. I truly believe Katie will contribute to humanity in a most positive manner.”

Miss Rackley was honored with a $500 scholarship and plaque in recognition of holding the highest SAT score among his peers at Georgia Military College. Mr. Kitchens was honored with a plaque and a cash award from the Chamber of Commerce and the sponsors of the program.