Columbia, Heritage lauded for eS2S network for military, civilian students

MADISON – The Military Child Education Coalition has selected Columbia and Heritage elementary schools as top-four finalists for the Student 2 Student Outstanding Team Award and among Top Ten finalists for all age levels (elementary, middle and high school).

S2S and eS2S (for elementary) raise awareness about needs of transitioning students, both military-connected and civilian. “eS2S allows ambassadors to help new students ease into a friendly environment. It’s helpful for new students knowing they have support from peers,” counselor Macy Smith said.

Student Ambassadors make their schools a place where the new student feels accepted, welcomed and ‘at home.’ “Military kids move (up to) nine times during grades K-12 and change schools three times more often than (civilian) peers. That’s a lot of moving!” Heritage eS2S Sponsor Melissa Butler said.

“The S2S program provides such an important leadership experience for these young leaders within their schools and throughout local communities,” Rob Frazier said about Columbia and Heritage’s work. Frazier is Director of Marketing & Communications with Military Child Education Coalition.

“The eS2S experience was an awesome addition to our work at Heritage,” Principal Dr. Georgina Nelson said. “The program provided resources, training and support for all of our eS2S team … to meet needs of military families and those families new to Heritage.”

eS2S Ambassadors serve as greeters at school events. In November, eS2S invited veterans in student families as special guests at lunch.

By selling doughnuts, these students raised almost $8,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. eS2S donated lost-and-found items to North Alabama Foster Closet. They gave hygiene supplies and snacks to residents of Floyd E. ‘Tut’ Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville.

eS2S “dovetails beautifully with our work in Leader in Me and implementing the ‘seven habits’ daily as a way of life,” Nelson said. Their ‘lessons learned’ have far-reaching implications to faculty, staff, students and families. “We’re grateful to be part of this great program for many years and honored as one of the top four elementary programs in the nation.”

Counselor Casey Gaines said Columbia fosters positive relationships with students and community. “Columbia currently has 852 students; 76 are new students, 50 active-duty military families and 228 impact-aid families. We’re proud of our 30 student ambassadors’ acts of service to peers and community.”

eS2S Ambassadors representing Madison at the MCEC Virtual Education Summit 2020 on Nov. 17-18 were Adriana Gadomski, Lucy Herndon, Jaxon Kimberly, Blake Lugos, Chloe Powell and Savannah Velez.

 

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Digital version of The Madison Record – Feb. 28, 2024

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