Thursday, April 2, 2009

Recognizing Achievement: Communities in Schools

CIS Recognizes Student Achievement Month Winners

CIS of Georgia recently held an awards program to recognize the winners of the 2008 Student Achievement Month. This year's contest received over 500 entries from elementary, middle and high school students who receive CIS services and are described by that organization as being sometimes overlooked and often expected to to underachieve. Thank you to Catherine Broussard, Communications Manager, CIS of Georgia, for sharing the stories for this blog post.

Thirty-nine students became regional winners with eleven being selected as state winners. Students were judged in categories of Art, Essays, Poems, Songs, Speeches and PowerPoint presentations. The eleven winners are: From CIS of Fitzgerald/Ben Hill County - Jamie Hendley, Alasia Simpson, Dennis Lightsey and Steven Home; from CIS of Colquitt County - Caleb Paige, Shakia Lattimore, and Chazmin Signletary. Evergreen Reed (CIS of Troop Co.), Deylah McCarty (CISof Athens/Clarke Co.), and Antavious Grier (CIS of Douglas Co.) were also state winners.


The following are highlights from the winners presented at the CIS Recognition Awards Luncheon Program held in Atlanta in March, 2009.

Deylah, pictured here with Cal Phelps (Wal-Mart Regional Director of Operations for GA and CIS Board Member), was a state winner in the Creative Expressions category. Her project is a 4-panel art project that traces the stages of her life and attitude about school. Click here to see Deylah's project and her description of its meaning.

Dennis was a state winner in the Computer Technology category. Click here to see his PowerPoint with a before and after theme that has him "Back in My Mind Right Side Up". Dennis is pictured here with his principal, Dr. Gail Stokes.

Antavious was a state winner in the Public Speaking category. The power of his story is the power of a committed mentoring relationship. Antavious and his mentor, Mrs. Judy Shaw are pictured here.

Here is his winning presentation:

Hello, how are you all today. My name is Antavious Grier. People watch my life, and might think that I’m living the life. You might think I have a great life, because I’m always smiling or having fun. My life was not always like that. I was a troublesome childe. I always got in trouble. I acted out all the time just to get attention. I was doing horribly in school.

In the third grade, I always fought at school. I always got in trouble. I lived in the principal’s office. I was a third grader reading on a first grade reading level. I hated to read. My parents were not in my life like they needed to be. My dad was never in my life and my mom was always tired. So I had no one to bounce my ideas off of. I had no one to talk to. When I was growing up, men around me always beat the women. That made me think that’s how you treat women. Some of the women around me acted like men. I was on the wrong track. It seem like I had nothing to live for as a kid.

CIS has had the biggest impact in my life. If it was not for them, I would not be the fine man that you see now. It was like an angel had come into my life by the name of Mrs. Judy Shaw. She was the sweetest person I knew. I am a senior in high school; Mrs. Shaw came in my life at a rough time. My parents were breaking up, and my grandmother was sick. My mother and I were always fighting. It seemed like to me that acting badly was the way I suppose to act, because that is the only thing I saw at home.

At the moment Mrs. Shaw came in my life, she was like the mother I never had. She came every week at her lunch just to talk to me. She gave up eating lunch just to talk to me. It was our thing; she would come every Tuesday or Thursday to my school. She used to always come and try to make me read books. I used to fight her everyday about reading books, but I always seem to read them to her. No matter what I had said to her she always came back the next week. It felt like she was not doing this because it was her job. She was this because she loved kids and she loved helping me.

She taught me how to read, and ten years later I read on a twelfth grade reading level. I was not the best math student either. She helped me, and now I am taking AP Statistics. I am on course for college. I have never failed a class thanks to her. I make all A’s and B’s. I have a 3.27 grade point average. She even helps me apply for college. Mrs. Shaw helped me in many different ways and aspects.

Mrs. Shaw was a lady. She dressed like a lady, she talked like a lady. She showed me how a lady is supposed to act. She showed me how a lady is supposed to be treated. She showed me how to say “yes ma’am,” “no ma’am,” “yes sir,” “no sir.” She taught me manners. She transformed a rough third grader into the fine man you see in front of you. You know you remember one person in your life that changed you for the better, Ms. Was that person. If it was not for the mentoring program and CIS, I would have never met her and I would have never been changed.

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