On Fridays at Parker-Bennett-Curry Elementary School, when the boys get to try on collared shirts and ties, it’s a chance for them to look back on their good behavior during the week with pride.
For Tyreon Clark, it’s an opportunity to impart some life lessons and see how the students are doing. Only his second year into leading the school’s Boys to Men program, he’s already seen big changes.
“There’s been an increase in positive behaviors, a decrease in negative referrals, an increase in participation,” he said, describing the program as a tool for encouraging positive behavior and academic achievement.
Another initiative, called Girls with Pearls, has similar goals.
“We want the highest level of success for these kids when they leave Parker-Bennett so they can continue on,” Clark said.
In an effort to boost participation, Clark set a goal this school year of raising enough money to purchase khakis, dress shirts and ties for 100 boys in the school.
On Tuesday, he was able to bust through that goal and distribute “kits for success” to all the school’s boys thanks to several sponsors. The school’s girls will also receive crew neck shirts, a news release from the district said.
“I just want to say thank you to the community sponsors for just stepping up,” Clark told the Daily News.
Sponsors include Cedric Burnam, Landon Hampton, Jeff Goodnight and the Goodnight Foundation, Jay Lawless, David Shadburne and the Park Community Credit Union, Ben Tomblison, David Wiseman, Steve Rogers, James Vatrens, Matt Idlett and Western Kentucky University’s Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Before handing out the kits, Clark drilled students on their manners and explained the meaning of the different colored ties. A solid purple tie is for minor behavior “hiccups,” and gold- and purple-striped ties signify exemplary conduct. Students between the third and fifth grades have to sign a positive behavior contract, which stipulates conditions like respecting teachers and completing classwork, Clark said.
Cameron Brooks, a WKU senior from Indianapolis, attended the Helping 100 event as a representative of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
“It gives the kids hope,” he said. “They’re more than just students, they’re actually humans.”
Walter Moore, a fifth-grader at the school, said he appreciates the program for giving him a chance to stand out in a good way.
“It gives us a chance to help others not as a follower but a leader,” he said.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.