Lady Liberty tour visits RES
On Thursday, Russellville Elementary School played host to a prestigious group who has toured around the country, teaching students about the importance of liberty, freedom and how each student will play an important role as an American citizen.
Liberty Learning Foundation’s interactive program “The Next Great Americans” made its final stop of its current 56-school tour at RES to implement the Liberty’s Legacy “Super Citizen” program, which is an annual in-school program that focuses on teaching elementary school students about America’s history and heritage while incorporating character-building, financial literacy and career development components that the foundation believes are fundamental to the success the country’s youth and the country itself.
Students at RES were treated to a 30-minute multi-media and interactive program hosted by Rachael Rainwater, dressed and known throughout the day as “Lady Liberty.”
Students learned about the history of the Statue of Liberty and the importance of freedom while also learning patriotic songs.
“We are so excited that we were able to host this event,” RES Principal Kristie Ezzell said. “We don’t get opportunities like this every day and our students really seemed to enjoy the program.”
Thursday’s program was made possible thanks to the Russellville-based CB&S Bank and the bank’s executive vice president and chief sales officer, Matt Cooper.
Cooper met with Liberty Learning Foundation’s president, Patti Yancey, five months ago about the possibility of having RES become one of the nine schools the tour visited in Alabama.
Cooper said Yancey was glad to bring the program to Russellville’s students and he appreciated her willingness to allow the community to be a part what their foundation was trying to do.
“We really believe building stronger citizens at younger ages will help build a better America in the future,” Cooper said. “Through the ‘Super Citizen’ program, the kids will learn more about our country and will develop a sense of pride in being an American citizen and those are things we at CB&S Bank are proud to sponsor.”
Cooper said the program also has a financial literacy component that CB&S Bank recognized as being important as well.
“Starting to learn about financial responsibility at a younger age is important because it will help these students be better prepared when they are on their own,” Cooper said.
Representatives from CB&S Bank, including Cooper and CB&S board of directors chairman Cecil Batchelor, attended Thursday’s program to present RES with a check to cover the cost of eight “Super Citizen” kits that will be used in each fifth grade classroom at the school.
Yancey said the “Super Citizen” kits are designed for students in third through fifth grades but in Alabama, the kits follow more closely with the fifth-grade curriculum.
“The Next Great Americans tour brings attention to the urgent need for tools that make it easy and exciting for educators to integrate character-education and civic responsibility into the required curriculum,” said Yancey. “We’re here to bridge the gap between under-funded schools and the ardent supporters who believe these lessons must be taught despite school budget cuts.
“It’s great that Russellville has a bank that sees the same vision as the one we have.”
Ezzell said she was thankful to have this opportunity presented to her students and teachers.
“With so many demands now in school and the accountability we have with our testing, respect for our country and a sense of patriotism are things that aren’t being taught as often as they should be,” she said.
“The main exposure to this kind of teaching has come from Col. Leer with the ROTC program at the high school who has come to speak to our fifth graders several times about our flag and the importance of patriotism. Now, the “Super Citizen” kits will help our teachers implement these themes into the curriculum on a regular basis.
“We’re so thankful to CB&S for giving us this opportunity and for always supporting the schools.”
Those interested in becoming a sponsor of the Liberty’s Legacy “Super Citizen” program can find more information at libertyslegacy.com/help-the-mission.