GMS students clean YMCA for Teach One to Reach One program

Published 5:35 pm Friday, March 6, 2015

A number of Greenville Middle School students are learning that leadership means leading by example, even when the task at hand isn’t the most glorious.

The students are members of 2015’s Teach One to Lead One program, a 12-week course focused on building character and leadership through the use of presentations, hands-on activities and mentorship.

This year’s crop of students have taken the hands-on challenge to heart in their cleaning of the Greenville YMCA, where they picked up litter around the facility in addition to cleaning the various rooms in the building’s interior.

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Teach One to Reach One mentor Margie Kennedy said that her goal each year is to make sure that each of the program’s 12 weeks a memorable one with lessons that will last its participants a lifetime.

“We teach a new universal principle each week, such as respect, teamwork, integrity, responsibility, etc.,” Kennedy said.

Week 11’s principle is service.

“And so we wanted them to be able to put into practice what they’ve been learning,” Kennedy continued.

“We’re about at the end of the program, but we like for them to get out in the community and know that they can be of value and make a difference.”

The program concludes in March with a graduation ceremony in which the students are given a master key, symbolizing the means to unlock their full potential and the path to a better future.

In recent years, participants in the program have heard a number of encouraging messages from the community’s various leaders, including Greenville Middle School’s own principal Curtis Black, Butler County Schools superintendent Amy Bryan and Greenville mayor Dexter McLendon.

As the program enters its eighth year, Kennedy added that she’s happy to play a part in helping middle school students make the oftentimes difficult transition to high school.

The first principle that all of the students learn—respect—is the biggest key of all.

““Kids at this age are not respecting each other, but they learn through this program to respect someone, even if they disagree with them,” Kennedy said.

“It makes a difference in the whole way they look at life.”