W.O. Lance Elementary School gets civics lesson Wednesday

Published 7:30 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019

LANETT — Second and third graders at W.O. Lance Elementary received an afternoon of education from an American idol who traveled from Liberty Island in New York City to Lanett Wednesday.

The Liberty Learning Foundation stopped by the elementary school along with Libby Liberty, who was dressed as the Statue of Liberty to teach young children a bit about the statue’s history and how to become a great citizen. Wednesday’s assembly was part of a kickoff campaign for the entire program. The program was sponsored by Coosa Valley RC&D.

Students attending the Liberty’s Legacy at W.O. Lance Elementary School Wednesday in Lanett raise their American flags while singing a song.

The Super Citizen program is a four-part method that uses hand-puppet videos, music, hands-on activities and a group activity to help educators round out the equation for teaching civics, character, financial literacy, career exploration and personal responsibility to students, according to the organization’s website.

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Cynthia Green, vice president of educational resources for Liberty Learning Foundation, said the organization reaches several school districts each year and about 43,000 students participate.

“It is super important because we feel we are building a foundation for these students learning about this country’s history and the important people in the community and state and country that have really paved the way for them,” she said.

Libby Liberty talks to students at W.O. Lance Elementary during Liberty’s Legacy’s program Wednesday afternoon. The assembly centered around teaching civics, character, financial literacy, career exploration and personal responsibility to students.

The W.O. Lance gym was filled with second and third graders with a Statue of Liberty hat and small American flags that were waved with enthusiasm as they sang a song learned for the assembly.

“We hope as we pave the way for the foundation with all the different programs that we have that we are going to see a citizen who wants to give back to the community and make a difference,” Green said.

State Rep. Bob Fincher, R-Wedowee, was in attendance Wednesday and said that young children getting civics lessons is never a bad idea.

“For them at an early age to understand a little bit about their country’s past and the sacrifices people made and a little bit about how the government operates, it’s kind of invaluable,” he said.

Vice President of Education Cynthia Green, along with W.O. Lance Elementary School 2nd grader K’Leigha Kyles and 3rd grader Tayla Jackson recite the Pledge of Allegiance Wednesday at the school’s gym before the Liberty’s Legacy program.

Allyson Matthews, W.O. Lance vice principal, said the school is grateful to Coosa Valley for sponsoring the program which focuses on civics, character, financial literacy “through the lens of great American ideals and civic responsibility.”

“One of our most important tasks today as educators is to prepare the next generation of leaders to become productive neighbors, leaders and workforce members who make up the community,” Matthews said.

Before the program, Coosa Valley RC&D also presented a check for $2,000 to the school to help create an outdoor learning space for students. Matthews said the area is used for STEM activities, literacy events, outdoor learning and casual gatherings.

Coosa Valley RC&D provided a $2,000 grant to W.O. Lance Elementary School Wednesday for new concrete in the school’s courtyard. Holding the check are from left to right: Coosa Valley’s Office Manager Christy Cochran, Coosa Valley Executive Director Heidi Richards, W.O.Lance Vice Principal Allyson Matthews and 37th District State Rep. Bob Fincher.

Fincher, who is a former educator, said part of the plan is also to create an awning for parts of the courtyard to allow students to use the space even during inclement weather.

“They get to come out and be outside a little bit,” he said. “Schoolrooms can be claustrophobic at times, especially for young kids. This gives them a chance to make full use of this.”