2013-12-06 / Community Events

Brigade Soldiers mentor Richmond County students

By Capt. Devon Thomas
35th Signal Brigade Public Affairs


Spc. Willie Smith, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Signal Brigade, advises Academy of Richmond County students during a survival team-building exercise Nov. 22. The brigade sponsors the high school as part of the Fort Gordon Adopt-A-School program. 
Photo by Capt. Lindsay Roman / 35th Signal Brigade Public Affairs Spc. Willie Smith, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Signal Brigade, advises Academy of Richmond County students during a survival team-building exercise Nov. 22. The brigade sponsors the high school as part of the Fort Gordon Adopt-A-School program. Photo by Capt. Lindsay Roman / 35th Signal Brigade Public Affairs Soldiers from the 35th Signal Brigade continue their involvement in the community by volunteering Nov. 22 at the Academy of Richmond County high school.

The brigade is one of several Fort Gordon units that participate in the Fort Gordon Adopt- A-School program.

“ We [ the brigade] are in our second year supporting the Academy of Richmond County and look forward to continue to build strong bonds with the school and the community,” said Maj. Dara Winney, the volunteer coordinator for the brigade.

Volunteers from the b r igade and s tudents discussed responsibility, character and leadership in past sessions. In the most recent session, Winney said they discussed how to apply conflict resolution skills at school and how to aid students to resolve any heated situation before it escalates further.

Students also learned lifeskills through a team-building exercise in the session. The students were passengers on a plane that crashed in the below freezing temperatures of the Alaskan tundra. They had ten minutes to select necessary items such as a lighter, pistol and food snacks for survival in order of importance and discussed how they would use their supplies to survive and be rescued.

Dontay McClain, an eleventh grade student, participated in the mentorship session, mentioned the session gave him skills to step away from any situation that may escalate to fighting. The team exercise helped his critical thinking skills.

“The survival exercise gave me the reasoning to think through issues, especially if my life was in danger,” McClain said.

Kenneth Johnson, an assistant principal at Academy of Richmond County, supervises the mentorship program. The 80-minute sessions are focused to improve student academic and disciplinary behavior. According to Johnson, some students have not had a disciplinary referral since participating in the program. The brigade started mentorship for the 2013-2014 school year in September.

“We have seen improvement in some of our students and will make adjustments based on data as the program continues to evolve,” said Johnson.

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