Jackson County Students Embrace New G.R.E.A.T Program - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Jackson County Students Embrace New G.R.E.A.T Program

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"Choose to be great."  That's the motto of a federally funded program called G.R.E.A.T, making its way into the Jackson county school system.

It's also a first for this national program be established in the panhandle.

Friday, one by one,  dozens of 4th graders made their way on stage and graduated from the G.R.E.A.T program, which stands for Gang Resistance Education and Training.

"You're the first class of the Jackson county school district to do this," says Sheriff Lou Roberts at Friday's graduation. "So when you carry that certificate home, look at it and know that you've done something that nobody else has done."

Deputy Roedel is The Malone School's Resource Officer who came across the G.R.E.A.T curriculum over the summer.

"Over the internet, I was looking for life skills based classes, gang classes, anything to help bridge the gap between our kids and law enforcement," says Deputy Roedel.

With the go-ahead from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Jackson County School Board, Deputy Roedel got certified and started teaching the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum just a couple of months ago.

Learning about gang violence, how to manage your anger, and how to make decisions are also components of the program.

"If there's one thing you have to pinpoint that you took from the class, what would it be? I asked a 4th grader who took the course.

"I liked everything, I wouldn't take nothing," says 4th grader Lindsey Williams.

"By the end of the program they were sad it was over," says Deputy Roedel. "They asked me when are you coming back?"

Deputy Roedel says all kids in our community whether its Malone or Marianna, can use this program to make better decisions and life choices down the road.

6th graders are also undergoing the G.R.E.A.T program and will graduate in a week and a half.

Deputy Roedel plans to continue teaching it next year and has hopes for it to expand throughout the county.  

For more information about this federally funded program, visit their website.