Natchez High School’s Dent named STAR student

Published 12:53 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — After scoring a 31 on his ACT, Natchez High School student Nigel Dent knows his hard work in school is beginning to pay off.

Dent was named this year’s STAR student for the Natchez-Adams School District.

Email newsletter signup

The STAR award, sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council and the M.B. Swayze Foundation, emphasizes academic excellence for both students and teachers alike.

Dent selected his past English and Spanish teacher Angela B. Brooks as his STAR teacher.

“Nigel is the kind of student who is self-motivated, and is driven to succeed, but not in a stressful or harmful way,” Brooks said. “He just takes pride in his work and is very disciplined.”

Students eligible for the STAR award must have an ACT score of at least 25 and a grade average of 93 or above in selected subjects throughout their high school career.

“I feel excited about winning the award,” Dent said. “It’s significant because the ACT was hard. To be chosen as a part of a group who were a part of this award is an honor. It shows that I put in the work for something important.”

Dent said from among his influences, his mother and Brooks have been the most influential.

“I took (Brooks’) honors English I class when I first started going here,” Dent said. “I appreciate the way she teaches, and I like her as a teacher. I go to her to talk about writing because I appreciate her advice.

“My mom pushes me to be self-motivated and independent, and those are invaluable lessons. As a student, you depend on teachers or your parents to help you, but at the end of the day you can’t rely on them, so you have to rely on yourself to succeed.”

Brooks said she was rather pleased and humbled that he won.

“Nigel wants to pursue a career in journalism, and I could see him doing a good job with that,” Brooks said. “But he’s so academically well-rounded that he could pursue anything. His potential is limitless.”

On April 27, the state’s STAR student will travel to Jackson for a celebration at the Jackson Convention Complex.

During the celebration and luncheon, the top 20 STAR students will be chosen earning the title of ALL-STAR Scholastic Scholar.

Dent said the highlight for him is going to be meeting the STAR students and their teachers from across the state and the scholarships that will be given.

The top ALL-STAR receives a $24,000 scholarship from the Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Charitable Foundation Inc. The first runner up receives a $20,000 scholarship and the second runner up receives a $16,000 scholarship.