Pelham students honor heroes, become Super Citizens

PELHAM – Students at Pelham Oaks and Pelham Ridge elementary schools spent part of the afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday, March 21-22, honoring those who they feel exemplify what it means to be a Super Citizen as a part of the Liberty Learning Foundation’s Super Citizen Program.

The assembly marked the end of the program for the students, who received students received a certificate of completion and pledged become the next great Americans.

The journey began in January when Libby Liberty visited both schools to kick off the 10-week program that immersed second grade students in lessons about American history, career development, financial literacy, character education and civics. Students also learned about national monuments and their importance.

At the end of the program students were charged with selecting someone in their community to be named a Helping Hand Hero and honor at their assemblies. After singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “This Land is Your Land,” students from each second grade class took to the stage to read short essays about the local hero they had chosen to honor.

One-by-one, the heroes, some of whom were parents of students, came to the stage to accept their award and a big hug from the students. Between the two schools, 11 local heroes were honored.

Pelham Ridge music teacher Randy Duke was selected as a Helping Hand Hero by Ms. Lightfoot’s class. The students praised him for teaching them how to play different instruments, for always being patient and never getting upset when they don’t sing the words to a song correctly. The students dubbed him the best music teacher ever.

“It was everything to me,” Duke said. “The fact they thought of me when there are other people who may be more worthy than I am – I just sat there and boohooed. I had to calm down because it was about to get ugly.”

Ms. Anderson’s class selected Pelham Ridge Principal Robin Hollingsworth as their Helping Hand Hero. Students noted that she is always friendly and has a smile on her face whenever they see her and they thanked her for keeping them safe while they are at school.

“I started to tear up,” she said. “You forget how insightful kids that young can be. It’s a part of my job everyday and you don’t always know what the kids think of you, so this was a nice gesture. It’s a reminder of why I became an educator.”

Ms. Norton’s class selected Pelham Ridge custodian Mike Milstead as their hero. They noted that he never complains about cleaning the restrooms even though they are sometimes really gross. They thanked him for cleaning up behind them when they are sick and for always being kind and nice.

Pelham Ridge school nurse Kaneesha McGinnis was Ms. Goolsby’s class hero, and Ms. Terry’s class selected Child Nutrition Program employee Nicole Smith. Students thanked McGinnis for always taking care of them when they’re sick and said that Smith helped them learn their lunch numbers and makes sure that they’re fed every day.

Ms. Crew’s class selected Pelham Ridge School Resource Officer Robert Getts as their hero and thanked him for protecting them while they’re at school.

At Pelham Oaks, gifted teacher Sherry Wood was selected by Ms.Libb’s class, Army Staff Sgt. Deneill Mayes was selected by Ms. Colquitt’s class, Pelham Oaks School Resource Officer Paul Martin was selected by Mr. Shivers’ class, P.E. teacher Ginger Aaron-Brush was selected by Ms. Barnes’ class and Pelham Officer Mark Knighten was selected by Ms. Scelsi’s class.