Edgewood Elementary’s “Men in Motion” received some very important information from Mayor James Perkins and Dr. James Mitchell, President of Wallace Community College Selma.
Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2005
“The thing is to bring in men from the community as role models to emphasize the importance of being good citizens,” said Concetta Burton, Edgewood Elementary School Principal. “We want to instill things in them to make them productive members of the community.”
The atmosphere in the library was very relaxed and informal as Perkins and Mitchell spoke to the young men.
“How can a young brother allow another young brother to sit in class and not do their lesson?,” asked Perkins. “Your eyes are too bright, you have too much energy and too much brain power to not do something in life.”
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Perkins went on to emphasize that a “made up mind” is the most powerful thing in the world. According to Perkins, once a person has made up their mind that they are going to do something or be something, everything that they do will bring then closer to that particular goal.
Mitchell also urged the young men to have goals. He encouraged them to raise their standards and expectations of themselves.
“What you do now at this point in your life will follow you throughout life,” said Mitchell. “You just don’t erase it.”
Men in Motion is a program geared toward Edgewood’s male students in grades 3-5. The goals of the program are to help raise the motivation of the young men, and improve their grades and social skills.
“We started the program last year,” said Marques Stewart, a 4th grade teacher. According to Stewart, they plan different activities and trips for the young men, have tutoring sessions, and encourage them to take an active role in their community and their school.
“On Thursday’s we wear shirts and ties, said Stewart. “We had the students serve lunch on Valentine’s Day, and are planning a fishing trip. We really need some fathers to volunteer to help with that.”
They have also attended an Alabama State basketball game and have plans to attend a Montgomery Biscuits game.
To qualify, the young men must maintain at least a “B” average and must not have any behavior problems. If a student who is already a member of “Men in Motion”, experiences a drop in his grades, or is referred to the office for behavioral issues, he is placed on probation until he brings his grades back up, or improves his behavior.
Stewart said that being placed on probation is usually enough motivation for the boys to improve.
“The program is real effective,” said Frederick Hardy, a 5th grade teacher. “It makes a difference. By us being the only two male teachers, they look to us to do things.”
According to Hardy, although they get an equal mix of students who are well behaved, and some who are not as well behaved, most students have improved their behavior by the time they leave the program.
“We just want to expose them to (new)things in Selma and outside of Selma,” said Stewart.