Mary Hazel Bellan named St. Joe's STAR student for 2020-2021

FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2021
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Bellan named St. Joseph’s STAR student;

Waldon named the school’s STAR teacher 


MADISON (Friday, March 26, 2021) – St. Joseph Catholic School senior Mary Hazel Bellan has been named a STAR student and science teacher Dianne Waldon has been named a STAR teacher for the 2020-2021 school year.

St. Joe named Bellan this year’s recipient of the award based on her ACT scores and scholastic average. Bellan, in turn, named Waldon as her STAR teacher, the educator who has made the greatest contribution to her academic success.

“What a wonderful way for Mary Hazel Bellan to end a successful high school career,” said Dr. Dena Kinsey, St. Joe principal. “Mary Hazel has worked hard all throughout high school in all of her classes. This award honors that success and her many achievements.”

Besides being named the STAR student, Bellan also has been named the BankPlus Blitz 16 Scholar Athlete. Bellan played soccer for St. Joe throughout her high school career; the award honors her work in the classroom and play on the field.

STAR is an anacronym for Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition. 

The award is sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council, the voice of Mississippi business since 1949. The MEC, whose roots go back to December 1948, has more than 11,000 members from more than 1,000 member firms throughout the state.

St. Joseph Catholic School, founded in 1870 by the Sisters of Mercy, is celebrating more than 150 years of faith formation and education excellence. The school offers seventh- through 12th-grade students a rigorous college prep curriculum grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

St. Joe, located at 308 New Mannsdale Road in Madison, just west of the Interstate 55-Mississippi 463 Exit, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting arm of Cognia.

Bellan and Waldon, along with other STAR students and teachers, normally would be recognized at MEC’s annual Education Celebration this spring. But MEC has canceled the annual event for the second year because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The top 20 STAR students will receive scholarships, and their STAR teachers will receive awards. The highlight of the STAR student program is the naming of the Mississippi All-Star scholar, who will receive the $24,000 Cook Foundation Scholarship.

“These two awards are a testament to Mary Hazel’s hard work and dedication throughout her time here at St. Joe,” Kinsey said. “Her amazing work ethic is just one example of how St. Joe does a great job preparing students for college and life as an adult.”