By Ronda Cowen
News Star Reporter
Five years ago, Stratford began a program in the middle and high school called Teachers as Advisors.
Within the program, students break up into small groups and discuss topics such as bullying, drug awareness, and typical career readiness.
The main goal was for teachers to develop a trust relationship with the students and parents, and really get to know what the students may need to be successful.
They teach the students to set goals and then assist and encourage them to reach those goals.
Tammy Anderson, one of the teachers involved in the program says, “As leader of our committee, I had the idea that our ‘teachers as advisors’ needed to step up to the next level. On many occasions, we would discuss how we could ‘give back’ to the community. We want the students to realize that someday they will be the ones running this community and may need some help. I wanted students to own this idea and ‘want’ to help others.”
Over the past five years, several small groups from the program have gone to Ada and volunteered at Abba’s Tables soup kitchen.
“Students were always happy to help and left with the desire to do more for others,” said Anderson.
The middle school has a group that continues to volunteer there once a month.
On many occasions, groups from Stratford school, visit The Willows, which is an assisted living center in Pauls Valley.
The students wanted to continue helping in the community. On Wednesday, April 11th the group declared a day of community service or beautification at the high school. Many people from the community came to assist with ideas.
Town Administrator Shannon Tice accessed the needs of Stratford and where the students’ services could be most productive.
Jared Wells from Oklahoma Heritage Bank and Shea Meyer, Stratford’s art teacher, took two groups of kids out to the edge of town and repainted the welcome signs coming into Stratford.
Lendon Wood, Stratford Little League Director, and Tony Prichard, Stratford’s Softball coach helped students paint fences and bleachers at the Stratford Little League Field.
A local pastor, Keith Stephens and a group of kids picked up broken limbs and trash at our Town Park.
Parent, Melissa Terry led a group to the Senior Citizens Center and spruced up the flower beds, washed windows, and visited with the senior citizens.
Parent, Stephanie Smith led a group up and down Main Street picking weeds and cleaning the Main Street Park.
Parent, Misty Wright and a group cleaned out the flower beds in front of the Elementary and Annex buildings. Other teachers and kids planted flowers at every building on campus.
One teacher helped a group of students work on the elementary playgrounds, cutting out old rubber and shoveling in wood chips.
“The response from the teachers and students was amazing,” said Anderson.
“The students were all hard workers, willing to give up their time to help beautify their town and campus. Many students ended up with blisters on their hands and a good feeling in their hearts. I can’t thank the students, parents, and community enough for giving us the opportunity to ‘give back’ to those who give us so much already.”