Dec 24 2019
Hanna Pennington |Herald-Dispatch
Cabell County Schools is in the early stages of launching a new character development program in middle schools countywide, beginning with Huntington East Middle School following holiday break.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s “Heroes Among Us” Character Development Program will focus on helping students become productive teenagers and adults, according to Justin Boggs, Cabell County executive director over middle school education.
“Before we put something like this out countywide, we ask for volunteers to see what schools would be interested in doing it first, and Huntington East Middle School jumped right in,” Boggs said. “We brought together a small group of teachers from Huntington East to really look at the curriculum and make sure it was good, quality content, and they were really sold on that and wanted to move forward with the implementation.”
The program specifically discusses the concepts of courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity and citizenship and how these ideals are useful in everyday life, Boggs said.
“Being in middle school, that’s a time where students are at a crossroads, because they’re somewhere in between a young child and an adult,” Boggs said. “But, they’re also put into very adult situations.”
Boggs said the county is hopeful to expand the program into all middle schools in the district over the next year.
The announcement of the program took place on Dec. 13 at Huntington East Middle School where Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams spoke to students about the importance of character.
“We’re very fortunate to have Woody Williams, a hero, right in our back yard,” Boggs said. “He works with our schools a lot, not just Huntington East.”
Williams was born in 1923 in Quiet Dell, West Virginia, and received the Congressional Medal of Honor on Oct. 5, 1945, for his service in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
“The program is framed around the Congressional Medal of Honor and those winners, but it is also about citizens who have done great things,” Boggs said. “You don’t have to be a war hero to be a hero, you can do that in your daily life.”