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‘Super Citizens’ graduate, honor local heroes

U.S. Jones Elementary School fifth grader Mary Foster presents her father, Demopolis firefighter Chris Foster, with a Statue of Liberty replica during the ceremony to honor local heroes. (Times Staff/Andy Brown)

U.S. Jones Elementary School fifth grader Mary Foster presents her father, Demopolis firefighter Chris Foster, with a Statue of Liberty replica during the ceremony to honor local heroes. (Times Staff/Andy Brown)

U.S. Jones Elementary School fifth graders closed out their Super Citizens program Tuesday with a graduation celebration and a ceremony honoring local heroes nominated by students.

Nearly 200 students completed the program, which was sponsored by the Liberty Learning Foundation and Alabama Power.

The program teaches students about liberty, civic responsibility, character education, financial literacy and career development.

“Alabama Power is grateful to be a partner for this program,” said Riley Wells, plant manager at Alabama Power’s Greene County Steam Plant. “We have been very impressed with these students, and we look forward to seeing what they will do with all they have learned.”

In addition to graduating from the program, each of the seven 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.

Firefighter Patrick Braxton, U.S. Jones custodian Ralph Mullens, Trustmark Bank’s Valley Harrison, former NFL player and pastor Byron Franklin, missionary and student Sydney Hasty, firefighter Chris Foster and physical therapist Skibo Holman were selected as community heroes.

Each of the seventh fifth-grade classes at U.S. Jones Elementary School selected a community hero to recognize during the Super Citizen Program graduation ceremony on Tuesday. Pictured are, back row from left to right, Chris Foster, Ralph Mullens, Sydney Hasty (on the screen), Patrick Braxton, Valley Harrison, Skibo Holman and Byron Franklin. Front row, from left to right, Mary Foster, Houston Jones, Sarah Jordan, John Alex Courtney, Molly Harrison, Mary Grace Smith and Brandon Franklin. (Times Staff/Andy Brown)

Each of the seventh fifth-grade classes at U.S. Jones Elementary School selected a community hero to recognize during the Super Citizen Program graduation ceremony on Tuesday. Pictured are, back row from left to right, Chris Foster, Ralph Mullens, Sydney Hasty (on the screen), Patrick Braxton, Valley Harrison, Skibo Holman and Byron Franklin. Front row, from left to right, Mary Foster, Houston Jones, Sarah Jordan, John Alex Courtney, Molly Harrison, Mary Grace Smith and Brandon Franklin. (Times Staff/Andy Brown)

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

“This program tells who we are and who we should be,” said U.S. Jones Elementary principal Leon Clark.

“Citizenship is sort of on shaky ground right now. Going through a program like this lets students know what it means to be a citizen and what’s on their shoulders.”