This story is one of the best. Here is how it started:
Anthony Weatherspoon, attended Sunday School ever weekend at his church. He wanted to attend the parochial school owned and
managed by his church. He learned from his parents that they did not have the money necessary to pay the annual tuition fees. Anthony
begged them to find a way, but both parents felt it was impossible.
Anthony was very upset by all this and asked his Sunday school teacher to pray and that his parents would find the money needed. His
Sunday School Teacher asked why he did not want to attend the local public school since the studies would be the same, but not
Anthony told her he did not want to attend the Lockeland Middle School because it had a very bad name, kids were fighting, they had
bad grades, and the teachers didn’t do anything to solve the problems.
The Sunday School teacher asked Anthony if he had thought about changing the school for the better since his folks did not have the
Anthony said “No.” She then reminded him that he was a smart, very good, student and could do wonders with god’s help.
The school was located at the end of Woodland Street near his home in Nashville TN. Anthony, 12 years old, decided to change the
image of Lockeland Middle School for the Better.
So he went to the Lockeland Middle School 's Principal, Vanessa Barbour, and asked her to allow him to help make the halls safe, for
pupils not to fight and for the community to praise the school instead of condemning it.
Ms Barbour gave Anthony permission based on his sincere interest in making things better.
When his teacher asked Anthony and his class to develop such a program, Anthony asked his class to create a classroom competition
in the school.
Each class would begin a “Set A Good Example Club” based on a successful program run in California .
Each classroom would elect a president, secretary and treasurer.
Each classroom would receive booklets containing 21 common sense guidelines to be read and used by each student.
The students in every classroom agreed.
The rules of Anthony’s game were based on the 21 guidelines in the booklet each student received. Part of the game was any student,
seeing another student doing WRONG report that student’s name in writing on a piece of paper and drop it in a box outside the
Principal’s Office titled WRONG.
At the same time, the names of students doing RIGHT were dropped into another box outside the Principle’s Office titled RIGHT.
The Classroom with the most RIGHT names did not need to study Friday afternoon. Instead they could have a popcorn party and watch
a motion picture film instead.
Anthony arranged with parent members of the Parent-Teachers Association to fund the cost of the popcorn and renting a film, suitable
for school children to watch.
Principal Vanessa Barbour said the campaign had turned the school around. In addition to making Lockeland a kinder, gentler school,
the campaign has made it safer. “We have decreased the violence by 70% - 80%, over the school year. We have decreased
disrespectful attitudes toward teachers, decreased vulgar language and gestures.
Before the program began , the school averaged about 19 referrals per week to the office for pupils fighting and misbehaving. In the
program’s first week, those referrals were cut in half. “You name it, it’s better.”
“Kids are now more apt to sit down, calm down, think about what to do and set a good example. It’s not 100% but it’s 100%
Antonio, who was voted “Man Of The Year,” said he is pleased with the change he made in the school. “I think this is making our
community a better place,” says Anthony. “Working on this has is a way to stop some of the killing and some of the badness.”
Click here to see an enlargement of the newspaper clip.
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