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GMS students learn to lead

After 12 weeks of leadership training, 32 Greenville Middle students enjoyed the sweet taste of success and ice cream sundaes.

The students were part of a program named “Teach one to lead one”.

Chad McGriff, one of the events four volunteer mentors, described the aims of the program.

“Basically, we are trying to instill in them a passion for life,” McGriff said. “We want to teach them that they are valuable and should respect themselves.”

The leadership class is geared towards students at-risk of dropping out of school. McGriff said they follow students as they graduate middle school and make the transition to high school. Students that complete the course have an 80-percent graduation rate in high school.

Margie Kennedy helped organize the event. Kennedy said the course was offered by volunteers using material from Celebrate Life International, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming kids into responsible citizens.

Kennedy said it takes four mentors to lead the two, 12-week courses they offer. Margie Kennedy, Jesse Marsh, Chad McGriff and Keith Simmons all volunteered to make the program possible.

“We have four mentors who want to make a difference in the life of students,” Kennedy said. ‘We teach them principles such as respect, teamwork, integrity and enthusiasm.”

McGriff said the program focused on giving students individual attention.

“Most of all, we get the chance to spend 12 weeks with kids that are overlooked,” McGriff said. “These students are now way ahead of most of the peers just from taking this leadership course.”

A graduation celebration will be held after school today, McGriff said. The students will be given a master key to symbolize all the “keys” or life principles, they learned.

“Students in the seventh and eight grade are looking for a cause,” McGriff said. “They are the ones with the personality and the energy—you just need to direct it into something positive.”