Natchez High’s ‘Star Student’ Jones picks teacher who made impact

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Natchez High School senior Sanquanett Jones remembers the fear she felt standing in front of her peers as a fifth-grader at Morgantown Elementary School.

Jones, now 18, had been asked to recite a lengthy passage as part of a school program, and she wasn’t sure she could do it. &uot;But then I saw Mrs. Washington sitting there smiling at me, and I was OK,&uot; Jones said.

Jones has been selected as NHS’s Star Student for 2001. Each year schools throughout the state name their star student based on the senior with the highest ACT score. Jones scored a 33, well above the national average.

Email newsletter signup

As star student, Jones is allowed to choose the one teacher who had the greatest impact on her educational career as star teacher.

Most students pick from among their high school teachers, but Jones reached back into her elementary years and chose Sandra Washington, a fifth-grade teacher at Morgantown Elementary who has been a educator for almost 30 years.

&uot;She was really an inspiration to me,&uot; Jones said. &uot;She always pushed me to do my best and that’s the attitude I’ve kept all the way through school.&uot;

Washington remembers Jones as &uot;brilliant, but a little timid.&uot; She encouraged her to have confidence in her abilities and let them take her wherever she wanted to go. &uot;I’ve always told her that and now she’s starting to believe it,&uot; Washington said.

&uot;I just plant the seed, and they cultivated it and make it grow,&uot; she said. &uot;And I only had to plant a little seed with Sanquanett.&uot;

Jones said it was the life lessons more so than the social studies lessons Washington taught her that made a difference in her education and her life.

&uot;It’s more than just a job. Teachers touch so many lives. Teaching is a powerful profession,&uot; Jones said.

Both Jones and Washington will attend the state Star Student conference in Jackson this spring, where Jones will compete with other students for scholarship money.

She is also a National Merit Scholarship finalist and the recipient of the Ottilie Schillig scholarship to Mississippi State University, where she will attend this fall. She is the daughter of Stanford and Shirley Jones of Natchez.