SYLACAUGA, Ala. – This school year, Nichols-Lawson Middle School implemented a community mentoring program known as CHAMPIONS . More than twenty adult volunteers in Sylacauga answered the call to serve as classroom mentors. On Monday, May 14, the students gathered for a special assembly to thank their mentors.

Mentors have met monthly with their students and guided conversations aligned with the school’s student character program. Discussions emphasized courage, honor, attitude, mental toughness, purity, integrity, ownership, navigation, and service. By embracing these attributes, students are better prepared for success in life.

Mentors came from various walks of life, including pastors, health providers, retirees, community leaders past and present, and a host of others. Those volunteering their time included Ben Donahoo, Henry Looney, Todd Dean, Lashayla Cochran, Santreis Cook, Amanda Reams, Decorey Hale, Brian Hibbs, Tiffany Nix, Nancy Dickson, Tim Allen, Willie Olden, Robin Angelo, Shannon Darby, Joe Hogan, Jackie Holtzclaw, Officer David Kimbrough, Greg Bailey, Katie Wesson, Sydney Harris, Becky Brooks, Verleta Baker, Eric Richardson, Dana Smith, Greg Holtzclaw, Evan Patrick, Glenda Gaines, and Jonny Bailey.

Assistant principal Paula Bruno is the “champion” of the program and strongly believes in the benefits of community leaders investing in the lives of middle schoolers.

Bruno said, “As I thought about the mission statement of Sylacauga City Schools, I wanted to incorporate the community partnership by allowing individuals in the community to invest a little time with a small group of students in order to help them progress throughout this year in middle school. I understand that middle school is a very difficult, transitioning time for students; therefore, partnering with the community will give students another advocate to help them become successful and progress smoothly through the year.”

Thanks to the mentorship of these community leaders, the students of NLMS are true Champions.

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