• 84°

DMS LifeSkills students earn prizes

The students who took part in the LifeSkills program at Demopolis Middle School awarded its essay and poster winners in a special assembly on Friday.

“LifeSkills is a program that teaches kids about the skills of life, what it takes to make it through life successfully,” said Marcia Pugh, the director of the GROWestAL program at the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority that oversees the youth program.

“We talk about saying no to drugs, anger management, crisis intervention — just things that children can do and learn that, when they are faced with controversy, they know how to come out of that controversy with confidence.”

The program is geared towards sixth-graders and lasts seven to nine weeks. Other schools in Marengo County are also taking part in the program.

The program was made possible through a grant from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Students at John Essex and A.L. Johnson schools and George P. Austin Junior High School in Linden also take part in the LifeSkills program.

“Sixth grade was determined to be an at-risk age,” Pugh said. “That is when they are first influenced by older people and older children to do things that they shouldn’t do, where they are able to make the determination that, ‘No, I’m not.’”

Winners in the essay contest were Victoria Hoggle, first place; Amanda Martinez, second place; and Marcus Wright, third place. Those earning honorable mention awards for their essays were Jessica Adams, Jamaiyah Beck and Denzel Robinson.

Winners in the poster contest were Ryan Daniels, first place; Zarquishia Taylor, second place; and Krissany Purnell, third place. Those earning honorable mention awards for their posters were Alexis Benderson, Calajah Bryant and Jamie Crim.

First-place winners earned a $75 WalMart gift certificate, second-place winners received a $50 WalMart gift certificate, and third-place winners got a $25 WalMart gift certificate. Those earning honorable mention received a gift from Pizza Hut.

LifeSkills programs are directed by Loretta Wilson and Zina Wiggins, working in conjunction with teachers and administrators.