Back-to-school activity in Vincent

Published 9:48 am Tuesday, August 21, 2018

By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist

Students in Vincent are fortunate beyond their ability to comprehend. It is a continuous delight to observe teachers and leaders in the community as they interact and provide for the youth in the city.

Everyday life in Vincent changes a little when school starts. The traffic picks up a bit, there is hustle and bustle at the Shell gas station as young customers run in to grab a Gatorade on the way to school, and there are cars lined up in all directions at the one traffic light that marks the location of the middle high school. Visible signs school has started.

Major Stan Murrell and Cadet Colonel Jaylyn Kelley address the Vincent City Council. (Contributed)

The not-so-visible to everyone in the community is the dedication of parents, teachers, faculty and city leaders to the students. Or maybe, if this is all you have ever known, it makes it harder to appreciate.

At 6 p.m. on the first day of school, when for most the day is coming to an end, in Vincent, faculty could be found all over campus. And Major Stan Murrell was found attending the City Council meeting.

Talking with Council members before the meeting, he was heard proudly explaining how the JROTC program teaches a skill that results in teaching a behavior. Sophomore students are getting the opportunity to teach the freshman. They learn how one student’s behavior affects their team, and while demonstrating standing at attention, he explained they are learning attention to detail.

As the meeting starts, he distributes nice collared shirts with embroidered JROTC on the front to each Council member. Thanking them for their support, he described the students’ summer trip. “These kids who had never been to Washington, D.C., made the most of the opportunity. We walked more than 21,500 steps every day visiting museums and monuments,” Murrell said.

With gratitude, he explained the trip would not have been possible without the financial contribution from the Council. Cadet Colonel Jaylyn Kelley, the student commander for the JROTC, echoed Murrell’s statements, and added a thank you for supporting the program.

Murrell and Sargent Major Kiser, who oversee JROTC, could have simply sent a note; but they chose to demonstrate to the students what gratitude looks like by waiting until school started so they could participate.

The morning started with students being dropped off in front of the school. There were smiles and waves to loved ones, and teachers greeting students as they entered school grounds. A typical scene in front of most schools.

The difference is the dedication and genuine love of the leadership. There is an energy between students and teachers. Students walk toward the teachers standing outside with smiles, high fives and hugs.

When Dawn Howard was asked about greeting students, she said, “I love welcoming students every morning. It’s important to say ‘good morning’ and call them by name. It lets each one know they’re important.”