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Elementary students at RCS enjoy Super Citizen program

By Kate Grissom

Student Writer

RCS Media Group

This past Friday, second-graders at West Elementary and third-graders at Russellville Elementary attended the kick-off of the Super Citizen Program put on by the Liberty Learning Foundation.

This program teaches students about the importance of being good citizens and how they can all make a difference in their community.

The Liberty Learning Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission of empowering younger generations by teaching them civic and character concepts to build a brighter future for the country. To help reinforce this mission, the Foundation created the Super Citizen Program for elementary students that features a real life “Lady Liberty” character named Libby who teaches students about being super citizens.

The Statue of Liberty is a key symbol used in the Liberty Learning Foundation programs because of what she represents for all citizens.

The program starts with an introduction to Libby and then moves on to explain the “New Colossus,” which is the poem on the bottom of the Statue of Liberty. It explains how the Statue of Liberty is seen as a beacon of hope for all who enter America – no matter their race, color, or creed.

Students then learned three key concepts: citizenship, community and appreciation. The students learned they are all valuable members of different communities and how crucial it is to help out and to honor local heroes.

Superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes brought the program to RCS in 2015 and has kept the Liberty Learning Foundation coming back ever since because of how important he believes these lessons are.

Grimes talked about his main concern for the future of the country and explained how teaching the younger generations will have a great impact on leadership in the future.

“Our country is starving for good citizenship,” Grimes said. “This program is a great way to keep young students engaged while also helping them learn concepts of liberty, freedom and hope.

“It’s great each year to see all of these students, no matter their background or where they’re from, singing and being excited about being a good citizen,” Grimes added. “It inspires me to want to be a better citizen.”

Brett Johnson, executive director of the Liberty Learning Foundation, explained the goal of the program and how the Foundation’s creation came about because of a perceived need for students to fully grasp these concepts.

“Civics is not taught like it used to be,” Johnson said. “The reason the foundation started is to teach people how to be a good citizen.”

Johnson explained the Foundation offers different programs for different age groups so each generation of students can have the opportunity to learn about citizenship. Seventh-graders at Russellville Middle School will have their own Liberty Learning Foundation program to complete this year as well, which will focus on community service.

Johnson also mentioned a goal of the program is to “get students ready for adulthood” and teach them about the importance of the rights they have.

The Liberty Learning Foundation started in Alabama in 2010 and has grown since. Johnson said it is “extremely successful” statewide, and the foundation has plans on growing nationally.

The program is sponsored locally by G&G Steel, CB&S Bank, Pilgrims Pride, the City of Russellville, Russellville Electric Board, Russellville Gas Board, Russellville Water Board, Franklin County Community Development Commission, Bank Independent, Rep. Jamie Kiel, Alabama Department of Education, AlaTrade Foods, Alfa, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Malone Family Foundation, Regions Bank and Screentech.

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