Students from Tracy Hatcher’s Teen Living class at Clinton High School organized and sponsored a special class project lesson recently. One of the many units covered in Teen Living is Character Development. As a class, students wanted to extend their knowledge of what they had learned by having a guest speaker address selected classes. During class discussion, after reviewing James Mayo Faison Jr.’s book entitled “Tackled by Faith,” they were sure he was the one right for the job. Reading his table of contents, students evaluated the specific objectives that were covered in the unit and decided the material in his book would be the best for their classmates to hear about character development. Students wanted to help promote his book and share the message for which it stood. They asked if they could get Faison to speak to different clubs and organizations, and Hatcher thought this would be a great project.
On March 15, Faison came to CHS and spent the entire day with students. He was able to share personal life experiences on how his character was shaped. Faison is a 1999 Clinton graduate. After hearing Faison’s Power Point presentation, students were able to understand how much courage it must have taken him to accomplish all that he has been able to do in his life. Faison used his book as a focus point to help students understand how they can develop their own characters. Each chapter zeroes in on a certain life-topic of interest. One of them is Earning your Spot on the Team, or as he called it in school, character versus reputation. He asked students this question “Which one is the most important in life?” Other topics include: Power Behind Purpose; The Sacrifice, A New Mind Set, and Knowing How to Handle Success.
Faison brought out in his presentation what Dark Horse Pride is all about and emphasized to students that where you come from makes up a lot of who you are. He said he will never forget the people who helped him develop into the person he is today, such as his teachers from CHS. This was his first visit to the new building, and he said when he entered the building it brought back fond memories of how the many teachers and coaches had helped him so much. All those who heard him were able to take something he said and apply it to their lives. For example, he said that to do better in life, people must surround themselves with individuals who will push them toward higher goals. He further stated that being around people who have higher expectations helps achievement, and he said that everyone has potential and can work toward recognizing that potential.
As a follow up assignment in class, Hatcher had students write an essay on the impact the guest speaker had made on their lives. Many students were able to focus on several factors in their lives that need improvement to shape them into the people they want to become. Student Abigail Mejias said, “I thought his speech was very inspirational. He said that you are who you hang out with.” Kassim Worrells said, “I learned two important facts: one, I must have good grades, and two, I need to keep my character well-spoken of.” Cheyenne Williams said, “I learned that college isn’t a joke.” Hatcher said she is very proud of her class for working together as a team to complete this class project, saying, “Everyone seemed to walk away with a new perspective on life: that learning can be fun, exciting, and advantageous at the same time.”