Chelsea students honor heroes at ‘Super Citizen’ graduation

Published 4:28 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

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CHELSEA – Students at Forest Oaks Elementary School recently celebrated their completion of a civics and character education program—and they took time to honor people they view as local heroes.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, second-grade students participated in a lively assembly celebrating their graduation from the Liberty Learning Foundation’s Hands on Learning Program, a 10-week program featuring lessons in civics, character, financial literacy, career exploration and the importance of students’ roles as responsible citizens.

“What an amazing day we had visiting Shelby County students as they graduated from the Hands on Learning Program,” wrote the Liberty Learning Foundation Team, who also held a celebration at Chelsea Park Elementary School on Nov. 30. “Our biggest takeaway: They exceeded our expectations academically and emotionally. Yes, they learned crucial civics, character, finance and career lessons in the classroom. But today, they showed us so much more: They brought local heroes up on the stage and shared the reasons they chose to honor them.”

FOES students recognized the following people their classes selected as Helping Hand Heroes:

Russell Bentley (presented by students Taylor Griffin and Stella Coats). “We think that he is a hero because he takes care of our school. Mr. Bentley mows the grass, takes out the trash and mops the floor, and he goes on the roof and changes the lights and fixes all the broken things. Mr. Bentley is very nice to everyone, and helps teachers and students. He gets to school before we even wake up, and he leaves after we go home. Mr. Bentley is a real-life super hero. We love him so much.”

Chris Jeffcoat (presented by Caroline Jeffcoat). “A super citizen is someone who is honest, responsible and kind. Our super citizen is Mr. Chris Jeffcoat because he is sweet and helpful in all that he does. Every day he helps his family with a big smile on his face. He is super because he is an awesome person and dad. Way to go, Mr. Chris Jeffcoat.”

Madison Calloway (presented by Gage Calloway). “What is a hero? A hero is somebody who saves you, somebody who is brave, somebody who is strong with a body and a brain. A hero is a protector and a fighter. Our class hero is someone who sacrificed themselves to protect our country. Our hero fights the bad guys to keep us safe. Our hero is my mom, Madison Calloway. Thank you, mom, for being our hero. Thank you for fighting to keep us safe. Thank you for being strong. Thank you for all that you have done for our country.”

Maria Tarry (presented by NeNe Sanchez and Alexa Garcia). “Ms. Brock’s class would like to honor Maria Tarry. She is the ELL teacher at our school and has been teaching students and for years she worked with all the grades at our school. She also helps students and parents speak other languages. We love her because she always comes into our class and helps us learn. She helps us with our spelling and our language and speaking. She is always willing to help us when we have trouble, and sometimes lets us work in her room. Thank you for being our hero, Ms. Tarry. We love you.”

Officer Gary Goza (presented by Jaxon Crase and Shayla Hosmer). “Our class chose Officer Goza for our super citizen. We think that he is a hero because he keeps us safe. Deputy Goza keeps us safe by directing traffic and by monitoring our school. We think that Deputy Goza is smart, kind and funny. We like it when he wears his umbrella hat. Deputy Goza is a super hero, and we are thankful he is at our school.”

Timothy Cauley (presented by Leyton Conway and Pierce Shultz). “Our chosen hero is (Timothy) Cauley. Mr. Cauley is also Jackson’s dad. We chose to honor Mr. Cauley because of his service to support our country. In 2006 and 2011, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a Lakota helicopter pilot and has been a pilot for 16 years. Mr. Cauley has also been in the Alabama National Guard for 21 years. Today, Mr. Cauley is a full-time student at UAB. He will graduate in May 2022 with a biomedical science degree. Thank you, Mr. Cauley, for all that you have done.”

In closing, students recited the Super Citizen pledge and sang the Libby Liberty song.