School celebration honors good grades and behavior - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School celebration honors good grades and behavior

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March 17, 2006

Lakeland - Today may be St. Patrick's Day but these people didn't come out to celebrate the luck of the Irish. They've lined the streets of Lakeland to cheer for good behavior and academic excellence.

It's a parade complete with police cars, horses, floats, and even cheerleaders. But in order to be part of it, you have to make good grades, attend class, and behave. Kids at Lanier County Elementary are dying to join in. "My kids have been making straight A's this whole year just so they can walk in the parade and be part of that," said Michelle Allen, Parent.

It's all part of the school's "Renaissance" program. Every nine weeks, they reward kids who've improved their grades, or maintained high marks with a parade and a pep rally. Since they started the program six years ago, the difference in student performance has been unbelievable. "Our school's attendance, grades, behavior, AYP for the state has shot through the roof," said Jonan Holbrook, Kindergarten Teacher.

"We learn a lot and get to come to the pep rally and we get to do fun things, win awards, and cool stuff," said Taylor Blackburn, Student.

And the desire to learn doesn't end at school.  Parents can see the change at home too. "Every night when my son gets home, he wants to read a book and spell words," said Peter Brockington. "That's all he wants to do."

The school's Renaissance Program is getting attention from more than just people in South Georgia. It was even featured in a recent edition of Time Magazine."  Any school in the state of Georgia can do this and we challenge them all to do this for kids," said Holbrook.

So all Georgia students will be as motivated and fired up about learning as these kids are.

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