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franklin county times

FCS second-graders graduate from Super Citizen program

As part of Liberty Learning’s Super Citizen program, second-graders in Franklin County Schools have been participating in a program designed to help them become good citizens and members of the community.

Over the course of 10 weeks of learning and fun, students learned with the help of “Mr. Palmer” and watched the “Hands on Liberty” DVD series. They participated in the accompanying activities and lesson plans designed to teach crucial lessons in civics, character, financial literacy and social studies to a tech-centric generation.

Upon completing the program, they gathered Nov. 10 in the Belgreen school auditorium to celebrate their accomplishments, receive graduation certificates and honor local heroes from the stage.

The students wore Lady Liberty hats as they clapped and waved little flags, singing and chanting loudly while patriotic songs played, filling the room with their voices as they sang “You in the U.S.A.” Several students led their classmates in the Pledge of Allegiance.

They also recited the Helping Hands Pledge.

“We’re working to make a huge impact in our communities, our schools and our kids,” explained Emily Evans, regional development coordinator for the Liberty Learning Foundation. “This program instills a lasting impression in our students by honoring heroes that are part of their everyday lives and encouraging them to become heroes themselves.”

Each school picked a Franklin County Helping Hands Hero to honor on stage, with one or more students from each school reading an essay before introducing the chosen heroes who they believe embody the traits of amazing citizens. Each chosen community hero received a Liberty Pin.

Belgreen students Lynlee Eubanks and Amia Hegler recognized the hero their class chose, Melissa Cox, library media specialist for Belgreen.

“I appreciate the honor and love every day with our students,” said Cox. “I enjoy this program and love seeing the students having fun as they learn and grow in developing the skills they need to be good citizens and members of the community.”

East Franklin Junior High students Chance Smith and Fisher Newell honored the selection their class made as a community hero, Darryl Whitehead, senior pastor for an East Franklin church.

Phil Campbell Elementary student Sawyer Hallman honored his class’s choice, Patricia Nix, a special education aide for second-grade classrooms at PCES.

“Patricia is the most humble and caring person,” explained PCES Principal Dawn Rogers. “She loves her students and goes above and beyond to make sure she gives them the help they need. She is truly an asset to Phil Campbell Elementary School.”

Red Bay student Reyna Garcia recognized her class’s honoree, Connie Funderbunk, the school nurse for Red Bay Elementary. Vina student Noelle Dingillo introduced the hero her class chose, Brent Wells, the Vina School Resource Officer, an employee of the Franklin County Sheriff’s department.

For Tharptown, Case Hallmark recognized his class’s choice, Tiffany Hallmark, the school nurse for THS.

“Tiffany also helps a great deal at Tharptown Elementary,” explained TES assistant principal Tyler Berryman. “She is a selfless person and puts the needs of our schools’ students as her top priority.”

Belgreen teachers Dana Hill and DeAnni Lindsey shared their enthusiasm for the program.

“We have loved participating in the Super Citizen program,” explained Hill. “Our second-graders enjoyed learning about our country’s history and the responsibilities they have as citizens. The 10 units of activities were fun and engaging for the students.”

Hill said they watched videos for each lesson, as well as sang songs, made crafts and took part in other fun, hands-on activities.

“For example, when learning about symbols, we made a bald eagle craft,” added Hill, “and when learning about voting and elections, we held our own election voting for our favorite cookie candidate – and Vanilla Creme won.

“We chose our librarian as our Super Citizen to honor because she helps us so much.”

Lindsey echoed her sentiments, explaining she’s “so impressed.”

“I mean, what an amazing show. The program was so fun, the kids didn’t even realize they were learning,” added Lindsey. “It’s so important they learn our history at a very young age – the younger, the better, while their minds are still impressionable. This is the age we can mold them and shape them into being good citizens!”

For Belgreen High School Principal Megean Berryman, the Super Citizen program is something she describes as a wonderful way to teach students how to be good citizens.

“We are so thankful we have the opportunity to host this program at Belgreen,” explained Berryman. “We would like to thank Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Thigpen and all of our sponsors for making this possible.”