LANSDOWNE – Judge, realtor, retired Vietnam veteran; Just a few of the “Men on a Mission” who answered the call to help create a better environment for students at Ben Wood High School.
After a number of fights in October that brought police onto campus, the William Penn School District announced a Men on Mission program to instead bring volunteers into the high school to greet students and provide support during hallway transitions such as the start of term, to encourage a more focused learning environment.
“We reach out to men in the community and if they want to be part of a group of men just to help provide support during the day or during the transition,” Superintendent Dr. Eric Pecoats said in an interview in November. “We encourage them to come and be part of the school community.”
Peakowts said he saw a story on CBS News about Southwood High School in Shreveport, Los Angeles. Where there were problems with students who quarrel. In response, the school has developed a program called Dads on Duty which brings men from the community into the school to help create a better learning environment.
After a period of training and approval of security clearances, Wednesday was the first day for men to take up positions in the school’s stairs and corridors.
A little after seven in the morning, the students began to register for the day, that is, after checking their bags and passing a metal detector. Students have been alerted to “Men on a Mission” in advertisements over the past few days.
“It’s a great opportunity to show the kids that everything you can achieve is here,” said District Judge Keith Williams II, who was one of the men involved. Williams was in his first class to graduate from the school in 1983. He said he was excited to help Becoats with the program.
“It’s so special for me to come back and give back. People care about their communities and being role models,” Williams said.
Joe Mazza graduated from Penn Wood in class 93. He lives nearby and believes he can help the community. He said in the exercises that they reviewed some security issues, but the focus on the program was their attendance.
“Most were positive enough for the students to see that there were people willing to stay here,” Mazza said, standing with teacher Troy Brooks. “These kids are not as bad as they are portrayed in the news.”
“It gives a male presence in the school and tries to get as many black men as possible, and a lot of times in the education you don’t see a lot of black males,” said Brooks, who has been at the school for 15 years. “At the moment there are not many black male teachers in this building or across the area. This presence of black males, it will help, we are just trying to support the kids better.”
With the influx of students, many were excited to see math teacher John Kea, whom they got to know from teaching at the school in years past. Kea now works at the District Internet School in another building but is back to participate in the Men on Mission program.
Near the entrance to the school, Liston Myers stood in the hall as the students passed.
Liston Myers, a Vietnam veteran who served 14 years in the military as well as in the juvenile services in subsequent years said. “I think it’s a good programme.”
“I’ve always wanted to come back, help the kids and tell them, ‘Do what you can, heaven has no limits,'” said Dave “SoldByGold” Goldsmith who is also a Penn Wood alumnus. He graduated in 2005 and is now a realtor.
Young man, said Marvin Jones, who remembered trying to find his way. “I hope that if you have someone who is older and can relate to you, they can give you good advice. I see what’s going on, especially in urban areas and instead of just sitting around thinking gloom or doom, if I can affect one child, I feel like I did. something”.
Ed Brown, a retired teacher of 26 years as a principal in Camden, has lived in the William Penn School District for 28 years and said he misses the vitality of working in the schools and also wants to help his community.
“It was about giving back to my community, and anything I could do would help,” Brown said. “After so many years, you lost it and you really want to go back to it and do your best.”
By 7:40, all the students were in class and the guys were out ready to go back on Thursday.
Pecoats said the program starts slowly with two shifts; Start of study and class. They hope to build a cadre of men and determine the timetables in which people can volunteer. He also hopes to get some speaking engagements from Greek letter organizations and would like to find activities to bring parents into the building.
“I think it’s an honor to help out at school,” said Brian Taylor, founder of Taylor Made Vets, a local nonprofit that helps veterans. “Just have a good effect on the neighborhood.”