HAWKINSVILLE, Ga. — A Pulaski County high school senior earned STAR Student recognition by having the highest SAT score in the district, but she says the road to stardom wasn't as glamorous as you might think.

Principal Charles Myers recognizes senior Ciara Roberts for excelling in the classroom.

"Ever since I was a child, I've always been academically inclined. It was just a very big strength of mine," Roberts said.

On paper, her 1200 SAT score, and 4.0 GPA prove she's a standout, but she'll tell you the road to academic stardom is anything but glamorous.

"When I was about 14 or 15, I struggled with a lot of anxiety and depression cause I was so stressed and overworked," she said.

"She was in just a dark place and she would call all times of the day and night and talk and try to talk through these feelings," said her grandmother Beth Jones.

"She felt like everything was coming down on her and she couldn't breathe and just that she was going to fail," said her mother Faith Fowler.

During that time, Roberts was a 9th grade student in Myra Hurst's English class.

"We automatically clicked. She understood everything she read probably on a level way above her age," Hurst said.

"I saw how she inspired kids, how she interacted with kids and how she discussed books with great passion and I decided that's what I wanted to be. I wanted to do the exact same thing she did," Roberts said.

Little did Hurst know, that was the support Roberts needed. 

Now, as the STAR student, Roberts chose Hurst as her STAR teacher for the influence she had on her academic success.

"I want to be there for them to say I'm here for you. I might not be able to help you in every way, but I want to help you in the ways that I can, so that's why I want to be a teacher," Roberts said.

Roberts dual enrolled with Middle Georgia State University and will graduate with a high school and associates degree.

She's already been accepted into Georgia College and State University.

She'll enroll as a junior in the honors program, pursing an English bachelor's degree. After that, she'll work on her masters specialization in teaching English.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce created the STAR program and have honored over 27,000 students and teachers across the state since 1958.

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