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Starkville Academy sophomore Claire Vickers spends hours a week helping students in her school.
â€śLast October, our counselor Jamie Elliot told me there was a new foreign student, and she wanted me to help her,â€ť Vickers recalled. â€śWhen I met her, I was just in shock because she hardly spoke any English, and I just couldnâ€™t imagine coming to a foreign country and not knowing how to speak their language.â€ť
Vickers quickly met foreign transfer student Vicky Sun, and began to make it her mission to help acclimate Vicky to life in America.
â€śI was empathetic for her because I went to France a few years ago with my family, and even though I spoke a little bit of French, and I was with my family, I still felt completely lost, so I could only imagine how Vicky was feeling,â€ť Vickers said. â€śI tried to put myself in her shoes and just really treat people how I would want to be treated Ââ€” I know that sounds corny, but thatâ€™s what I tired to do.â€ť
To help Vicky in class, Vickers would take notes, type them out and then input them into a computer program that translated the content for Vicky.
â€śI would go back and then highlight the things she needed to know,â€ť Vickers said.
Vickers would also proof read all Vickyâ€™s homework assignments, and she even introduced Vicky to her friends and eventually got her interested in the band, where Vicky met even more friends.
â€śShe has a kind nature and is willing to help others. She is extremely dedicated, helping our foreign students and our transfer students,â€ť Teacher Barb Adkins said. â€śShe spends numerous hours weekly helping them in many ways with their school work and also in adjusting to a new school and country.â€ť
This year, SA welcomed two more foreign students, and Vickers selflessly took it upon herself to reach out to those students as well.
Though Vickers didnâ€™t help her fellow students for the praise, she was extremely touched when she went to proof read an essay Vicky had written but didnâ€™t tell Vickers the topic of the essay that said: â€śClaire became my best friend at this school. Claire helped me a lot in studies... I am so thankful for her. In my mind, she is my best friend. I cannot imagine how I could face anything without her help.â€ť
Vickers is a member of her high school band where she plays first chair trumpet and is on her schoolâ€™s dance team. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and was voted most outstanding and hardest worker by her fellow classmates.