Pepsi and America’s First Financial are sponsors of the One Class at a Time program.
The LBE includes approximately 100 young men in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, and hopes to “build and promote leadership qualities throughout young men at Sumiton through service, accountability and sound decision-making activities” and “continue to decrease office referrals for discipline issues related to poor decision making,” according to the literature sent home to parents.
“The purpose was to give our males the opportunity to develop leadership characteristics through serving others in the school and community,” Stephenson said. “In the process, they can devlop the characteristics that will benefit them at home, in the class and in life. The staff, community and students have responded with support and it has taken off much faster than I anticipated.”
The young men wear dress clothes and ties on the first and third Tuesday, donate an hour of time each week to help a designated teacher and perform acts of service in the school and in the community.
Stephenson said the program has already succeeded in reducing the discipline issues with the young men, both those in the program and those who are striving to get into the program.
Some of the students will be serving as Salvation Army bell ringers this holiday season, and they will be taking a field trip to see “The Nutcracker” at Samford University as a reward for their hard work this semester.
Prior to being notified they were receiving the grant, the young men in LBE, were raising money to donate to Back Yard Blessings. LBE President Caleb Danner presented Pam Campbell, of the BYB’s board of directors, with a check for $700 to assist the program that feeds children throughout the county.
“They wanted to do something that went back into the school, but also went out into the community,” Stephenson said.
The students filled a “piggy bank” in the office, offering change or spare money anytime they went by the office. Students were asked to give whatever they had, so some were able to give more than others, but they got to see the effects of working together to make a donation.
“They didn’t have to sacrifice a lot, but it added up,” Stephenson added.