PITTSBURG, KS (May 7, 2014) – Pitsco Education has awarded $500 scholarships to two 2014 Star Academy Program students who have found success in and embody the ideals of the program for overage middle school students who wish to get back on track with their schooling. All finalists in the scholarship competition were nominated by educators from Star Academy Programs across the country.

This year’s winners are Makhsud Nuriyev of Moore Middle School in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and NikiLee Nelson of Giunta Middle School in Riverview, Florida. The two eighth-graders, having fallen a year behind in their schooling, will be rejoining their age peers in 10th grade next year thanks to their work in the acceleration program. Scholarship certificates will be presented to the students at special ceremonies at the end of the school year.

Here are the abbreviated stories of these two students, adapted from the glowing nominations of the educators who work with them every day.

Makhsud Nuriyev (Nominator: Kathie Hardin)
Makhsud Nuriyev was a part of the ESL program when he first arrived in the Gwinnett County School System. As with many ESL students, his arrival in a new country created language and education gaps, and these challenges necessitated that Makhsud repeat a grade. However, he has successfully overcome this educational challenge to excel in the Central Gwinnett Step Academy Program (the name of the Star Academy in Lawrenceville) this year.

Thanks to a strong work ethic that nominator Kathie Hardin calls “second to none,” Makhsud is the top-performing student in the Step Academy. He made all A’s the first semester and is currently making all A’s this semester. He received the school’s Top Knight Award for the first semester along with an award for being the highest-performing student in his health class. And because he is such a good ambassador for Step Academy, he was even selected along with another student to go on a field trip with the Georgia governor’s wife, Mrs. Deal, to Gwinnett Technical Institute.

Makhsud plans on attending college, majoring in accounting, and becoming a CPA. He plans to open his own accounting firm in the future.

NikiLee Nelson (Nominators: Cindy Barlette and Barbara Gable)
NikiLee Nelson has become a self-advocate for her own education. Not only has she earned straight A’s in all of her courses, she seeks out new ways to improve her skills. After NikiLee was chosen to participate in the Hillsborough County Poetry Jam competition, she sought out a teacher to help improve her public speaking. She stayed after school on several occasions to practice with this teacher. After performing her poetry in front of a crowd of spectators, she was asked to join a Poetry Club by the guest speaker at the event. She practiced similarly for an arts magnet school audition and was accepted into the program for the 2014-2015 school year.

NikiLee’s successes extend beyond academics. In addition to her success in school, she researched on her own the logistics of building her own computer and hand built a working computer from spare parts. When her hand-built computer did not work, she sought the advice of the school’s computer specialist. Incidentally, this is in line with her aspirations for her future. After graduating from high school, NikiLee plans on furthering her education by attending college. Currently, she is interested in attending New York University with goals to become a software engineer.

Note to media: Learn more about the Star Academy Program at www.pitsco.com/staracademy. Contact: Communications Manager Tom Farmer, 800-828-5787, publicrelations@pitsco.com.

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