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U.S. Jones fifth-graders graduate from Super Citizen Program

Each fifth-grade class selected a community hero to recognize during the Super Citizen Program graduation ceremony held Wednesday. Shown are Gerald Parson, Maley Lee, Ann Parson, Kevin Horne, Tori Horne, Lady Liberty, Emma Hinson, USJ Principal Leon Clark, Jakara Taylor, Jataurean Jones, Robert Houze, Jeremiah Edwards and Carl Johnson.

Each fifth-grade class selected a community hero to recognize during the Super Citizen Program graduation ceremony held Wednesday. Shown are Gerald Parson, Miley Lee, Ann Parson, Kevin Horne, Tori Horne, Lady Liberty, Emma Hinson, USJ Principal Leon Clark, Jakara Taylor, Jataurean Jones, Robert Houze, Jeremiah Edwards and Carl Johnson.

U.S. Jones fifth-grade students graduated from the Super Citizen Program during a ceremony Wednesday morning.

The program kicked off in February, and students have been learning about being involved in communities and many other things to help them become “Super Citizens.”

In addition to graduating from the program, each of the six fifth-grade classes chose a citizen they believed to be a community hero. The community hero they selected was given a Statue of Liberty replica during the ceremony to commemorate the honor.

U.S. Jones Principal Leon Clark was chosen by two different classes to be their community hero.

Emma Hinson and Leon Clark

Emma Hinson and Leon Clark

“Mr. Clark works hard to keep us safe, and he has so many kids to keep safe and never complains,” said Emma Hinson, a student in Patricia Bolden’s class.

Clark said he was honored to be recognized by his students.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It’s not about me, but I do appreciate the recognition. I want them to feel good about coming to school, and that’s something we have been working on since I got here. It’s been a group effort with me and the teachers and staff to continue and enhance the good things going on here.”

Jakara Taylor and Leon Clark

Jakara Taylor and Leon Clark

The other class to recognize Clark as a community hero was Jeanette Rainey’s class.

“He does a lot to improve the school,” student Jakara Taylor said. “A lot of people don’t think of him as a hero because of the rules he makes, but he makes those rules to help keep us safe.”

Also recognized as community heroes were Ann and Gerald Parson for their community involvement.

Gerald Parson, Maley Lee and Ann Parson

Gerald Parson, Miley Lee and Ann Parson

“They’ve worked on building and painting for the Canebrake Players, and they have helped with the Christmas on the River parade and Demopolis First United Methodist performances,” said Miley Lee, the Parson’s granddaughter and student in Dana Hill’s class. “Without them, so many of these projects wouldn’t be possible.”

Ann Parson said they were surprised to receive the honor.

“We didn’t know we were getting the honor,” she said. “We thought it was just a presentation. I’m so impressed with the program, and I know it will make a big difference in these children’s lives.”

Retired Demopolis firefighter Carl Johnson was recognized by Sue Moore’s class, and Robert Howze, a janitor at U.S. Jones for 11 years, was honored by Leah Wilson’s class. Jeremiah Edwards presented the award to Johnson, and Jataurean Jones presented the award to Howze.

Jeremiah Edwards and Carl Johnson

Jeremiah Edwards and Carl Johnson

The last honoree was Kevin Horne with Amstar Ambulance Service. He was chosen by Stephanie Polk’s class, and Horne’s daughter, Tori Horne, presented the award.

Jataurean Jones and Robert Houze

Jataurean Jones and Robert Houze

“This is the best award I’ve ever received,” Kevin Horne said. “To be nominated by my daughter and voted on by her friends that I’ve watched grow up with her, it’s a huge honor.”

Tori and Kevin Horne

Tori and Kevin Horne

The program was sponsored by Alabama Power, and local business office manager Diane Brooker said it was an honor to work with the students over the last couple months.

“Many Alabama Power employees came on Fridays to read to the students, and that’s something the students aren’t used to and our employees aren’t used to,” she said. “At the beginning, it was hard to get people to volunteer, but by the end, we had to tell people there wasn’t enough space left to volunteer.”

She added that the program planted a seed in the students that will grow throughout their lives.

“They will become super citizens,” Brooker added.

At the end of the program, students said a pledge to be super citizens in every aspect of their lives.