Bright Future: Mophett applies lessons learned in school to life

Published 12:36 am Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NATCHEZ — Making real life connections from classroom lessons is a common bond between Cathedral High School’s STAR Student and Teacher.

Piper Mophett, Cathedral High School senior, said she values more than just good grades, so she tries to take the most out of each assignment by connecting it to her own life experiences.

Her efforts earned her the STAR Student designation for Cathedral this year.

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She said her teacher, Jean Biglane, has helped her achieve that goal so Mophett chose Biglane to be her STAR Teacher.

Biglane, Mophett said, does all she can to help her students resonate with the literature she introduces in her AP English class.

“I feel like something everyone should gain from school and education is not just an education but life experience — learning more about themselves as well as the subjects they’re being taught,” Mophett said. “Mrs. Biglane has done an excellent job of conveying experience as well as knowledge.”

Biglane said she has been selected a STAR teacher several times in the past and is honored by being chosen again.

The STAR program, established in 1965, is sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council and recognizes outstanding student achievement based on ACT test scores. As the top scoring student at CHS, Mophett has been selected as this year’s STAR Student. STAR Students are tasked with choosing the STAR Teacher. 

“I try to bring in the relevancy of what were studying to their own life experiences,” Biglane said. “When you read, you want the understanding and knowledge of it, but you also want to be able to assimilate it, identify with it and to live vicariously through it. … I try to make that relevancy click with them so that it’s not just the plot … but what it means in their life.”

Biglane’s class recently studied prose and poetry, which Mophett said she was able to connect with her everyday life and experiences, thanks to Biglane’s careful instruction.

“I always try to take whatever I’ve been assigned and get the most out of it,” Mophett said. “I feel like some people just do the most superficial amount of work.”

Mophett said she enjoys learning as a whole and excels in each subject.

“I think of myself as a fairly well-rounded student,” Mophett said. “I enjoy most of my classes, English and biology being my favorite subjects.”

Biglane describes Mophett as having a creative mind and being a true academic.

“Piper is one of those very exceptional students who has the mental capacity and also the drive and devotion to learning,” Biglane said. “She is a genuine academic when it comes to learning. She is not in it for the grade or the points.”

Like a true scientist, Biglane said, Mophett concerns herself with the “why” and “how” questions that can be asked in each lesson.

“Her motivation is just the experience of learning, getting into the situations and into the environment itself and understanding what is going on with the subject matter,” Biglane said, “Why people do what they do, what they found out and how they found it out. She is an investigator. She has an analytical mind.”

Biglane said she looks forward to second period each day when Piper engages herself in the close circle of AP English students and discusses what she has read. 

“She is so creative in her own writing and thinking,” Biglane said. “Teaching a student like that is an absolute pleasure, privilege and gift. She makes my teaching experience so delightful and so easy.”

Mophett said her boyfriend, her parents — Gary and Elise Mophett — and her teachers strongly support her in all of her academic endeavors.

Mophett has searched and applied to many different colleges and hopes to further her education somewhere in the north where she can enjoy cooler summers and winter weather. 

“I prefer the cold much more than the Mississippi heat,” Mophett said.

As an education enthusiast, Mophett said she intends to double major in two-dimensional art and biology with an emphasis in ecology, evolution and conservation.