11/25/12 — Students honored as GREAT grads

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Students honored as GREAT grads

By John Joyce
Published in News on November 25, 2012 1:50 AM

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Crystall Walker, mother of 9-year-old Jennifer Mitchell, looks with pride at the certificate of graduation she and fourth-grade classmate Keshawn Brinson received after completing the Goldsboro Police Department's Gang Resistance, Education and Training program.

There was standing room only inside the gymnasium at Meadow Lane Elementary School on Tuesday as parents, teachers, school and city officials came together to celebrate the fourth-grade graduation of the Gang Resistance, Education and Training program.

Cpls. Robbie Jones and Ronald McDuffie of the Goldsboro Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit spent more than seven weeks with the students teaching them to make the right choices and providing them with tools they will need to avoid the pitfalls of gangs and drugs.

"If you hang around with knuckleheads, what are you going to end up being?" asked Cpl. Jones.

More than 100 students responded in a chorus of tiny voices: "Knuckleheads!"

Among those on hand were Mayor Al King and City Manager Scott Stevens, as well as Wayne County Commissioner Wayne Aycock and Wayne County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Marvin McCoy.

"Its about collaboration, the village concept. The city, the school system, the GREAT curriculum and how it lines up with the state's (education) requirements," said Dr. McCoy.

Mayor King addressed the students and crowd of proud parents and teachers, thanking them for their support and encouraging them to maintain the direction they are providing "our young people."

The GREAT graduates were called up one at a time and handed diplomas. They shook hands with the mayor and Dr. McCoy, Chief of Police Jeff Stewart and Maj. Al King, commander of the investigation division.

Parents snapped photographs and recorded video on their cell phones, anxiously withholding their applause until each class had been called up in it's entirety.

"I liked learning about respect, to be kind to others and treat them the way you want to be treated," said Jennifer Mitchell, 9.

Her mother, Crystal Walker, works for Wayne County EMS and was beaming with pride as her daughter spoke about surrounding herself with the right kinds of people.

Her classmate, 9-year-old Keshawn Mitchell, said that his favorite part of the graduation was shaking hands with all the people.

"If we don't get them at this age, the wrong people will get to them," Aycock said. "This is about the whole community, but meeting the needs of each individual community."