April 9, 2007
press release from Sumter County Schools
Americus -- Through the concerted efforts of three teachers at Sumter County Elementary School, five fourth-grade students teamed up for the "Movie Makers" competition. The 2006 theme, "Georgia's Unsung Heroes," was a natural title for the many volunteers in Sumter County Schools.
Defined by the organizer, The Center for Quality Teaching and Learning of Columbus State University, A ‘hero' is someone, living or not, who has overcome adversity to make their community, or world, a better place. The theme encourages teams to identify an "unsung hero" in their community and share that hero's story with the public.
There are many such heroes in Americus and Sumter County but these students chose on such individual to share with others in video competition. "Movie Maker" coach/technicians, from Sumter County Elementary were, Ms. Bobbie Sims, Mrs. Helen Rickett, and Ms. Christus Walker.
As these teachers attended their first training and information session in October, 2006, the excitement of the program enlarged. As they attended several workshops, teachers and some student representatives learned the exacting standards of the competition. Team members, Alerie Roberts, Jaylen Melton, Sara Westra, Ana Salinas and Ryan Hutchinson eagerly wanted to begin "hero" research and script composing.
Through intense review of rules and use of electronics, not only did students choose their "star" but learned video and audio technology. The production was created under strict guidelines and conformity with Georgia Performance Standards and Quality Core Curriculum standards.
Priority for the group was the selection of their "Unsung Hero" in Sumter County. The students checked with friends, neighbors and relatives to find this "star/hero." After extensive discussion, the team overwhelmingly voted for Mrs. Juanita Wilder, a resident on the Magnolia Manor-Americus campus.
Now with a "hero," the students began brainstorming to conjure appropriate questions for Mrs. Wilder. On February 6, 2006, through the liaison of BJ Wright, Activities Director at Magnolia Manor, the students attended their first interview. Rev. Wilder knew of the project but kept it secret from his wife. The children asked many questions of their "hero" and planned their on-site return for the actual event taping and script construction.
Mrs. Wilder is a volunteer resident in Magnolia Manor's ministerial cottage with her husband. Manor residents share, "There is no way to calculate the number of hours that Mrs. Wilder has volunteered throughout the Manor complex. Mrs. Wilder wants no recognition and is a very humble person. Her main activity is to have yard sales at Magnolia Manor.
Her sales are fondly referred to as the "Magnolia Manor Mini Mall," and is held in three rooms. Included in her sales are furniture, dishes, linens, clothing and gift items. She collects her inventory from other residents in the Manor and will pickup, haul, and cleanup any offered items. After pricing the items, the wares are carefully displayed for customer selection. In addition to scheduled resident sales, Mrs. Wilder and other volunteers will open their "store" to resident employees.
Mrs. Wilder also organized the "Good Samaritan" shoe boxes for children around the world, at Christmas. As the Sumter County Elementary team began compiling their information and images, some agreed, "We have too much to share about Mrs. Wilder. These video tape limits are not long enough." The teachers reminded them that this was the first year for the project and "everyone has learned good things from these efforts."
Deadline for the tape production was March 9. 2007. The deadline was met and the production was mailed to Columbus State University. Before release of the work, many viewed the efforts of these students through the guidance of educators in Sumter Elementary Schools.
As Dr. Valerie Roberts, Principal of Sumter County Elementary shared the tape with many groups, she said, "This student production brings tears to my eyes. It took months of discussion and analysis by these students. With the help of some great teachers and staff, these students have gained far more than only the appreciation of the goodness of others."
(Above) Gathered in Dr. Roberts' office for another preview of the completed project are, from left to right: Dr. Valerie Roberts, Jaylen Melton, Sara Westra, Ana Salinas, Bobbie Sims, Ryan Hutcheson, Christus Walker and Alerie Roberts. Not pictured is Helen Ricketts.
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