ACCS STAR Student excels by overcoming adversity

Published 12:56 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Christian School STAR Student honored his father’s memory through high achievement during school.

Steven Porter, 18, who lost his father Mark Porter in September 2013, persevered through the loss by putting all he could into other aspects of his life.

“I just tried to keep everything as normal as I could,” he said. “I tried to not think about it too much, but it made it tough.”

Email newsletter signup

Porter, with an unweighted GPA of 4.0 and an ACT score of 30, said he was honored to be ACCS’s STAR, which stands for Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition and is awarded by the Mississippi Economic Council’s M.B. Swayze Foundation.

“I was pretty excited about it,” he said. “When we were originally talking about it, I didn’t expect to get it. I thought someone else would.”

Even though Porter doesn’t plan to pursue a science major in college, he selected his anatomy and physiology teacher, Nicki Freeman, to be his STAR Teacher.

“She’s just by far the best teacher I’ve ever had,” he said. “She’s really good at making sure we understand what she’s talking about.”

Freeman, who also taught the senior in biology and physical science, said Porter picking her was special because she has a lot of respect for him.

“He’s an excellent student,” she said. “I would gauge how well my lessons were getting across to the students by looking at his face.

“He made lots of eye contact, was super attentive and asked good questions.”

Porter, the son of Mary Ellen Porter, plans to attend Mississippi State University, where he will study to be a civil engineer.

“I like the idea of being able to create infrastructure and come up with ideas to solve problems by using math regularly,” he said. “The whole idea of infrastructure has always been interesting to me.”

Math, biology and history were always Porter’s favorite subjects, he said.

Porter said he believes he’ll be able to use all of those skills as a civil engineer.

“I like the way math makes me think and have to figure out problems,” he said. “Biology, I just like the study of living things and the way they work.

“It’s all just really interesting.”

The classroom wasn’t the only place where Porter excelled at ACCS, as the 18-year-old had an 80-mile-per-hour fastball as a pitcher for the Rebels baseball team. He played in the outfield when not on the mound.

“It sometimes made studying a little tougher being out late during the week,” he said. “But it mostly worked out, you just had to take responsibility for your school work.”

When he’s not studying, Porter said he likes to hunt, fish and play golf with his friends.

“I just started playing golf recently — I don’t even want to start keeping score yet,” he said, laughing. “I just like being outdoors.”

Since the sixth grade, Porter has been a student at ACCS. Before that the Natchez native attended the public schools.

“I have enjoyed it here,” he said. “Things have changed a lot since I have been here, but it has been good.

“It’ll be different being at a big school. I guess I am nervous about going to college, but I’m also excited about it.”

Porter said he met with the head of the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State recently.

“I’m looking forward to going to school and taking college classes,” he said. “My first two years it’ll mostly be prerequisite classes like calculus and sciences, but I’m looking forward to learning new things.”