SHS announces 2020 STAR Student and Teacher

STAR student Grant Peterson and STAR teacher Trisha Pate

SHS senior Grant Peterson is a self-professed science kid.  

"When I was younger, I carried around a binder with pictures of animals and facts about animals, and I would ask my dad to quiz me," said Grant.  

As Grant prepares to graduate from Starkville High School in May, he plans to pursue a degree in biological engineering, and his ethusiasm for science discovery is undiminished.  

His senior schedule includes four Advanced Placement courses.  He's already completed four AP courses, and he's earned a score of 4 or 5 on all of them including AP Human Geography, AP Environmental Science, AP European History and AP Calculus.

But when Grant learned he was named STAR Student at Starkville High School for his score of 34 on the ACT, he selected his theatre teacher Trisha Pate as STAR Teacher recognizing her as the teacher who has most impacted his high school career.

"I wanted to recognize Ms. Pate for her influence throughout my middle and high school years, and I wanted to acknowledge the importance of arts education," said Grant.  

Grant first met Ms. Pate during Summer Scholars, a residential theatre camp at Mississippi State University.  Most recently, Pate cast Grant as Andy in The Mental State, and he was awarded All Star Cast for his performance in a leading role.    

"I really love that he appreciates both worlds," said Pate as she shared her excitement about her first selection as STAR Teacher.  "It is such an honor because it represents the relationships that theatre teachers cultivate with their students."  

Grant rounds out his interests and talents in science and theatre with his skills as a tennis player.    

"I didn't play tennis as a freshman or sophomore because it interfered with rehearsals for our spring musical production," said Grant.  "But then I realized I could join the technical team for theatre and still make my tennis matches and practices."

Grant is currently serving as secretary of the SHS Thespian Troupe.  He's also a member of the SHS Chamber Choir and Men's Quartet, and he's vice president of the SHS Ping Pong Club.   

Grant and Ms. Pate will be honored during a luncheon hosted by the Mississippi Economic Council and the M.B. Swayze Foundation recognizing all of the STAR students and teachers in the state in April.