By Sarrah Peters
More than 1500 second, fourth and fifth grade students from 11 Etowah County Schools participated in the Next Great Americans Bus Tour and Super Citizen Program Kickoff last Friday, Sept. 16, in the Southside High School Auditorium.
During the kickoff program, Libby Liberty, otherwise known as the Statue of Liberty, taught the children more about the statue and liberty.
The Statue of Liberty’s full name is “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Student volunteers demonstrated how large the statue is in New York. Libby even shared that the Statue of Liberty wears a size 879 shoe. The Statue of Liberty was made in Paris, but assembled on Liberty Island. The statue serves as a beacon of hope to immigrants that arrive on Ellis Island.
The children were also taught more about liberty itself, which is essentially freedom. Libby also emphasized citizenship. Historical figures were presented as “super citizens.”
The main point of the event was to get the kids excited about starting the Super Citizen Program. Libby led the children in a patriotic sing-along.
Students donned the liberty crown and had American Flags to wave during the performance.
The students will take part in the Super Citizen Program for the next 8-10 weeks. The program teaches civics, financial literacy, character development and career readiness.
They will also take part in the Torch Teams unit of the Super Citizen Program. In this program students and teachers work together to explore the character and actions of everyday heroes in their own communities. The teams will present a hero with an Authentic Liberty Replica at the Graduation Celebrations of the program. The motto of Torch Teams is simple: “When you honor a hero, you become a hero!”
Patti Yancey, a CFO from Arab, started the Liberty Learning Foundation in 2010 after volunteering to help implement a civic program in local schools.
Teachers receive the Super Citizen Program Resource Kit free courtesy of donors and grants. Students score 35 percent better on the post test than on the pre-test.
“The tour brings attention to the urgent need for tools that make it easy and exciting for educators to teach character-education and civic responsibility right alongside required subjects,” said Yancey.
The Etowah County students enjoyed participating in such a hands on activity.
“I can’t count how many performances I’ve seen,” said Yancey. “But they still give me chills. And judging from the teary-eyed, cheering crowds, I know I’m not the only one. It’s a really special shared moment for everyone.”