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Jefferson Middle School

3001 Allis St.
Springfield, IL 62703

Tying it All Together!

May 14, 2018

The mission of JMS is to educate through high expectations and to adapt to student needs by collaborating with all stakeholders. We will guide students to become problem solvers, creative thinkers, respectful, confident, life-long learners in an ever-changing world.  We believe the Real Men Read and JMS: Tying it All Together event will provide an opportunity for our students to connect what they are reading to the real world while learning an important life skill.  We greatly appreciate the involvement and support from our volunteers and community partners; working together, we can ensure our students have the best possible chance for success in life.

Students at Jefferson Middle School have been participating in the Real Men Read program since 2008.  Men from the community visit a classroom each month, volunteering their time to read with and mentor students.  The men provide positive male role models for JMS students and emphasize the importance of reading and the value of education.  The Real Men Read program is funded by the Springfield Public Schools Foundation in partnership with HSHS.  We also receive a great deal of support from our community partner, Bunn.  Our terrific group of mentors include volunteers from Bunn, Wells Fargo, IDOT, TRS, ILSOS, and Springfield Electric.  Books are selected by a committee and chosen based on relevance to the curriculum and student interest. This year, one of the titles chosen was We Beat the Street by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt with author Sharon Draper.  The following is a description of the book from Amazon.com:

Growing up on the rough streets of Newark, New Jersey, Rameck, George, and Sampson could easily have followed their childhood friends into drug dealing, gangs, and prison.  But when a presentation at their school made the three boys aware of the opportunities available to them in the medical and dental professions, they made a pact among themselves that they would become doctors.  It took a lot of determination—and a lot of support from one another—but despite all the hardships along the way, the three succeeded.  Retold with the help of an award-winning author, this younger adaptation of the adult hit novel The Pact is a hard-hitting, powerful, and inspirational book that will speak to young readers everywhere.

The Tying it All Together event was inspired by a scene from this book.  One of the aspiring doctors, George, needs to wear a necktie for a class, but he has never had anyone to teach him how to tie one.  Another young man steps up and teaches him how to do it.  This made the teachers at JMS wonder if our students might find themselves in the same predicament someday.  We decided to create an opportunity for the young men of Jefferson Middle School to learn this valuable skill.  We invited our readers to participate in this event to deepen the bond and connection between the students and readers.  We want our students to know how much they are cared for and that everyone is invested in helping them succeed.

Over two hundred ties were donated by members of Peace Lutheran Church and  Fresh Visions Community Church,  employees of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and other members of the community.  On Monday, May 14th, 22 men from the community met at JMS with 95 male students who are preparing to graduate from 8th grade and move on to high school.  Each mentor worked with 4 or 5 boys, helping each one select a tie that is theirs to keep.  Then they taught the young men to properly tie a tie.  As the groups enjoyed refreshments donated by Krispy Kreme, students had a chance to have conversations with the mentors about school, careers, and ways to succeed in life.