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Ashlyn Thompson is the 2024 STAR Student for Seminole County Middle High

Michelle Wingertsahn chosen as her STAR Teacher

Seminole County Middle/High School proudly announces Ashlyn Marie Thompson as its 2024 STAR Student.  Thompson, selected on the basis of her SAT scores, class standing and scholastic averages, has chosen Michelle Wingertsahn as her STAR teacher.

The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education.  Since its inception, the STAR program has honored thousands of students and the teachers selected on the basis of their SAT scores, class standing and scholastic averages.  The STAR student is the graduating Senior who has earned the highest SAT score and is in the top 10% of the graduating class. 

Ashlyn Thompson is the daughter of Brad and Amy Thompson. In 2010, Ashlyn entered the Seminole County Schools as a pre-K student and has completed her entire education through the Seminole County School system. Ashlyn is honored to earn this achievement and gives thanks to the support of her family and all of her teachers along the way. 

Ashlyn is a member of the National Honor Society and has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school while balancing academics, athletics, and community service. Ashlyn proudly serves as the current FFA Vice President, is part of the Ag Leadership Team, Varsity Cheer Captain, Varsity Girls Tennis team, Varsity Girls Golf team, FCA, and Pep Club. Ashlyn has always challenged herself academically by taking Honors, AP, and Dual Enrollment classes through ABAC. Ashlyn has been named a Georgia Certificate of Merit winner, Georgia Governor’s Honors Program nominee in Math, served as a Junior Marshal for the graduating class of 2023, earned her FFA State Degree in 2023 and has won several awards for highest average over the years. Along with excellence in academics she has also excelled in athletics. Ashlyn is one of the school winners for the 2023 Heisman High School Scholarship. In 2022 Ashlyn was nominated as a Southwest Georgia  Positive Athlete for tennis, cheerleading, and golf. She was named the Southwest Region Winner in Golf by the Georgia Positive Athlete Program. She was also named 1st Team All State in tennis for the 2022 season. In her free time, Ashlyn is a proud member of Trinity Crossroads Church and is also passionate about helping with the Seminole County Rec Department Cheer team. 

With so many great teachers in the Seminole County School System, Ashlyn had to take some time to reflect on who she would choose as her STAR Teacher. It didn’t take her long to realize what teacher made the biggest impact and changed the trajectory of the student she would become. Ashlyn chose Mrs. Michelle Wingertsahn, her third grade teacher, as her STAR Teacher. Ashlyn struggled with reading comprehension and Mrs. W spent extra time with her and encouraged her at a time she needed it most. “Mrs. W made me feel like a priority and not like a failure. She spent time getting to know me and wasn’t too busy to notice I might benefit from a little extra help. She even worked with me in her free time. And it made all the difference in the world to me! It built a trust between me as a student and the ability to ask my teacher for help when needed. It made me the student I am today! Teachers like Mrs. W are few and far between.”

Michelle Wingertsahn grew up in the Atlanta area, graduating from Parkview High School in Gwinnett County. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Valdosta State University where she majored in Early Childhood Education. Michelle has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, which she earned at Thomas University, with an emphasis in Reading. She is also a gifted endorsed educator. She married her high school sweetheart, Michael Wingertsahn who is the Senior pastor of First Baptist Donalsonville. The couple has three children. They will soon celebrate twenty-five years of marriage. This is her tenth year teaching third grade at Seminole County Elementary School. 

To be chosen as a “STAR” teacher is both humbling and an extreme honor, according to Mrs. Wingertsahn. Ashlyn was among the first group of students she taught. As a third grader she remembers Ashlyn as a sweet, eager, and dedicated student. Over the years she has had the privilege of watching from the sidelines as Ashlyn has grown not only into a beautiful young lady, but one who exudes kindness and thoughtfulness. “To see how she has blossomed further encourages me as a teacher to continue investing personally into the lives of all the children that God puts in my path.” Mrs. Wingertsahn’s goal as a teacher is, of course, to see that her students learn academics, but more importantly that they become individuals who contribute to the world in positive ways. Mrs. Wingertsahn states,  “Ashyln demonstrates this in the way that she conducts herself among adults and peers.” According to Mrs. Wingertsahn, “Ashlyn reaches for the stars while encouraging others to come along beside her and do the same. As the daughter of a farmer, Ashyln understands the importance and value of hard work, and she has put that into practice in all that she does here in Seminole County.” Mrs. Wingertsahn states, “It is a humble privilege and an honor to be just a small part of this special young lady’s life and I am excited to see all the exciting things the future holds for her.”

Mr. Shane Purdy, Principal, shares, “The STAR recognition program was created to focus public attention on Georgia’s outstanding high school students and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. It is indeed an honor for Seminole County to have such deserving students and faculty to support this most prestigious program.  We congratulate both Ashlyn and Mrs. Wingertsahn on receiving these honors and recognition. One of the many rewards of serving as an administrator is having the opportunity to see students and faculty members honored in such a way as these two are being honored through the STAR program.  I am extremely proud of our faculty and student body at Seminole County Middle/High School and humbled to serve in helping prepare the young people of Seminole County with the best possible education in leading them to become our citizens of tomorrow.  Congratulations again to Ashlyn, Mrs. Wingertsahn, their families and all who have had a part in achieving this highest of honors.”

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