Daniel: ‘I never shook hands with the president’

 Monroe Avenue Elementary School teaches a lesson in the democratic process

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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HAMLET — Having worked at the Richmond County Superior Court clerk’s office for 31 years, and now serving as the elected Clerk of Court, Vickie Daniel has seen and done just about everything.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Joshua Foster raises his right hand to be sworn in by Vickie Daniel (not pictured). Foster is standing beside Stacey Fain, school counselor.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Joshua Foster raises his right hand to be sworn in by Vickie Daniel (not pictured). Foster is standing beside Stacey Fain, school counselor.

On Friday, however, Daniel experienced a first.

“I never shook hands with the president,” Daniel said to young Joshua Foster, voted by his peers to be president of Monroe Avenue Elementary School’s Tiger Council for the 2014-15 school year. Foster is the head of the student body organization that helps set the example for all 470-plus students in grades prekindergarten through fifth grade.

Foster and the other 22 other members of the council were officially sworn into office in a formal ceremony  inside the school gymnasium with fellow students, parents and teachers looking on. Special guests included Dr. Cindy Goodman, Richmond County Schools superintendent, board member Jerry Ethridge and Rep. Garland Pierce, who won re-election to represent District 48 in the state House of Representatives.

Standing at the podium, Pierce said there could be students on stage that could one day take his place in the General Assembly. Pierce lauded the school and its teachers and students who took the time to register to vote and cast their ballots electronically for president, vice president and secretary of the student body through Google Forms.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Tiger Council Secretary Chloe Foster signs her name on the official certificate. The processed was supervised by Vickie Daniel, Clerk of Richmond County Superior Court.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Tiger Council Secretary Chloe Foster signs her name on the official certificate. The processed was supervised by Vickie Daniel, Clerk of Richmond County Superior Court.

Pierce and others reminded students that in other countries, voting is not as easy an opportunity as it is in America. And in the United States, it’s a right that was fought for through blood, sweat and tears.

“Do you know people have to brave people shooting at them, risking their life, to vote,” Pierce asked. “Embrace the freedom. Embrace the opportunity.”

Pierce reminded students — no matter how difficult it might be to believe — that the adults in the room once were students just like them, asked each day to soak up knowledge.

“Everything shared with us (then) has come to pass,” Pierce said.

Stacey Fain, school counselor and advisor to the Tiger Council, said council members are working on a book study with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, written by Dr. Stephen R. Covey. Two of the seven lessons have already been covered, said Fain: be proactive and begin with end in mind.

“We are encouraging leadership here at Monroe Avenue,” Fain said.

Voted to leadership positions on the council were: Joshua Foster, president; Charlie Gross, vice president; and Chloe Foster, secretary. Students elected to the council include: Taiyon Lowery, Asa Barnett, Chloe Jordan, Denasia Lockhart, Ben Whitt, Jordyn Baldwin, Quadir Winchester, Alyssa Roberts, Isis Covington, Bryan Thompson, Dakota Chavis, Lauren Lamb, Timothy Lance, Shiloh Magee, Genesis McLaurin, Jaiden Baldwin, Rayne Pitchford, Cody WEbster, Taylar Harrington, and Hunter McKenzie.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The Tiger Council members for the 2014-15 school year at Monroe Avenue Elementary School.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The Tiger Council members for the 2014-15 school year at Monroe Avenue Elementary School.

Connie Kelly and the Richmond County Board of Elections provided “I voted today” stickers — just like the ones adults receive each election — for the students who completed a ballot.

Fain said the student council plans to spearhead a number of service projects, including a collective drive for the local Toys for Tots.

It’s a fitting start to what Principal Dawn Terry hopes will be an ever-evolving opportunity.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever done something quite like this,” said Terry, noting next year’s ceremony would likely look a bit different after reviewing this year’s event.

And the student body seems to have plenty of politicians in the making. In his acceptance speech, Tiger Council President Joshua Foster led with thanking those who voted for him. Gross, meanwhile, kept his speech short. Refreshments, he said, are now being served.

As for Chloe Foster, Fain said the new secretary has already indicated her desire for an office within the school.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Tiger Council leadership includes, from left to right, Secretary Chloe Foster, Vice President Charlie Gross and President Joshua Foster.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Tiger Council leadership includes, from left to right, Secretary Chloe Foster, Vice President Charlie Gross and President Joshua Foster.

 

 

 

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, News

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