Local elementary students learn about Georgia Heroes

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Second-grader Jason Haywood used a recent project to send a message of unity. To do so, he wrote about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of “freedom, peace and love.”

Students at Mount Carmel Elementary School recently participated in the Georgia Heroes program. Special photo

“White people and black people couldn’t be together,” said Haywood of life in America before the Civil Rights Movement. “Martin Luther King had a dream, so he brought everybody together, to be together.”

Haywood and his classmates at Mount Carmel Elementary recently participated in a Georgia Heroes program, in which they learned about significant figures from the state’s history. Along with Dr. King, students were taught about the contributions made by baseball great Jackie Robinson and former President Jimmy Carter. Second-grade teacher Paula Whipple said the project was designed to show the students how they can incorporate the examples set by Georgia Heroes in their daily lives.

“My goal is to inspire students to look inside themselves for those leadership qualities to use now and forever,” said Whipple.

Joy Ross, also a second-grade teacher at Mount Carmel Elementary, said her students tied Georgia Heroes in with additional material they were learning. Her class, she explained, learned about Dr. King while studying measurements.

“The children were curious as to how tall the Martin Luther King Memorial was,” she said. “So, we measured it out on orange butcher paper and found out it was 30 feet long and 30 feet tall, and so they actually measured out 30 feet in order to do it, and then they proceeded to put facts on Martin Luther King on the butcher paper and draw the memorial.”

Ross added that it is gratifying to see what the students accomplished through Georgia Heroes.

“From my perspective, it makes me feel good because the kids are motivated in order to do it,” she said. “When they’re motivated, they find out even more knowledge than what I ever expected.”

Several of the second-graders shared the impact that the Georgia Heroes program has had on them. Seven-year-old Cameron O’Connor said the program showed him not only how he can be a hero, and where.

“I am Georgia Hero because I can show leadership, ownership and respect in a public place or at my Nana’s house,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor’s fellow second-graders echoed his sentiments about respecting others and being role models for younger children. Savannah Brewer, 8, said the Georgia Heroes program showed her how she can even be a hero at home.

“I am a Georgia Hero because I can show leadership by taking care of my pets, doing my homework and helping my mom do things that need to be done without being asked,” she said.