Two community organizations partner to inspire students
Matthew Stewart | The Daily Times
Two community organizations are partnering to inspire students in the Hall and Oldfield communities to achieve greatness.
Men In Christ/Men In Community and Charles M. Hall Alumni Association organized Monday the inaugural Academic Achievers Award ceremony, which was held at the Martin Luther King Community Center.
The program has been established to honor up to 12 Alcoa Middle School students — eight Academic Achievers, or two from each grade, and four most improved students, or one from each grade — at each ceremony.
Charles M. Hall Alumni Association and MIC honored fifth-graders Catherine Gillette and Cierra Hudson at Monday’s program. More than 50 community and family members were present at the event.
“It’s a great honor for her,” said James Hudson, Cierra Hudson’s father. “We’re very proud of her. She’s always setting the bar high for herself.”
“She takes great pride in her schoolwork,” said Melissa Hudson, Cierra Hudson’s mother. “She wants to do her best, and we work with her every night to make sure that she’s successful.”
Gillette thanked family members and teachers for helping her to achieve her own personal best. “Math is my hardest subject, but my teacher, Jackie Amburgey, and family members help me with my homework. I’m very honored to receive this award, and I’d like to encourage any student who is struggling to keep trying their hardest. I’d like to see more students at the next ceremony.”
Organizers plan to organize award ceremonies about two to four weeks after each grading period, said Glen Sankey, MIC Education Committee’s chairman. They also hope to honor more students at the next ceremony.
Ready to work hard
After MIC’s formation about one year ago, the organization’s members canvassed the Alcoa community and spoke with residents about their needs. The awards ceremony is a direct response to those needs.
“We wanted to do something that would serve as an inspiration for students, help them level up,” Sankey said. “They’re not performing as well on their test scores as other students.”
During Monday’s program, organizers talked about the importance of education.
“Education has been and continues to be the best path to a successful life experience,” said Logan Hill, Charles M. Hall Alumni Association member. “The athletes are idolized, and the students who are failing gets lots of attention because it reflects negatively on the school performance. But, what about those students who are excelling in school? We should be heaping continuous accolades and praise on them.”
Hill recognized that some students might not be perfect students, but he argued that many schoolchildren could realize better grades.
“We are mindful that every student is not or will be an A student at the middle school, but we know that students with the right incentive can demonstrate hard work and show grade improvement,” Hill said.
He also challenged community members to help students achieve these better results. “We are preparing these students for high school and hopefully college and success in the world of work. The Men in Community/Men in Christ and the Charles M. Hall Alumni Association are ready to work hard to make this happen. Are you?”
“I’m so glad to see that we’ve got two female winners, especially two female minority students,” said Keri Prigmore, who serves as Alcoa Middle School’s AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) coordinator. “When I grew up, this was a palace, a paradise, for them. We’ll return it to one with help from the community.”