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BCMS finds success with Men of Distinction program

Young men at Bryan County Middle School who are getting better grades this year and staying out of trouble have a new mentoring program to thank.

Al Butler, a BCMS teacher and the Bryan County High School softball coach, outlined the details for the Board of Education at its Thursday night meeting. The board during the school year rotates its monthly meeting and the October meeting was held at BCMS.

“We’ve spent a good portion of the first nine weeks of school putting the program together,” Butler said. “We’ve got about 40 boys in it now and we’re shooting for 60.”

Butler said he, Cassandra Donaldson and Mario Mincey spearheaded the program to help male students make better decisions.

The group meets daily from 7:40 to 8 a.m. to talk about grades, behavior referrals and overall attitude. Another meeting from 8 to 8:45 a.m. on Mondays helps set the tone for the week. Each participant starts off every day with 12 points, with points being deducted for poor choices. Those who finish the week with all 60 points receive a McDonald’s gift certificate.

Butler pointed to his own experience growing up in North Bryan County as a reason for his involvement.

“I know what it means to be from here,” he said. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time more than once.”

Two participants also talked to the board, explaining that their entire outlook on school has changed.

“I’m not getting in fights and my grades are better,” one said.

Butler said most of the boys in the program are in eighth grade, and so he is hoping it can be expanded to the high school level.

“We’d like to add some community service and maybe even expand down to the elementary school,” he said. “It would be great to have these guys go read to the younger students and get that feeling of helping others. We’re just scratching the surface.”

Board members agreed that they would try to find money in the budget to support the initiative.

In other business, the board voted to spend $213,000 to upgrade the backstops and drainage for the Richmond Hill High School baseball/softball complex and $105,000 to construct a covered batting cage for the BCHS baseball and softball programs. 

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