Guides learn some golden lessons

Published 7:49 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Some of the lessons the 23 Golden Guides say they have learned from the new class is not math formulas, historical dates or rules of grammar.

What they say they have learned are lessons of life—trustworthiness, respect and responsibility.

“We have this responsibility of information,” said Mary Grace Griffin, a Bainbridge High School senior. “We’re entrusted with information. … They are adults and they trust us with information.”

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Another BHS senior in the class, Allison Webb, said the class has been more like a behind-the-scenes job.

“It’s taught me how to handle people,” she said, having seen how Bainbridge High School receptionist Gwen Godwin handles the public. “I’m respectful of the office ladies. They have to put up with a lot.”

Lessons that these Golden Guides have draw from is the Golden Rule. But the curriculum has been very taxing.

“It just looked interesting,” said Carly Brock. “I thought it was going to be an easy block. It wasn’t an easy block though.”

The Golden Guides are students that were hand-picked by Principal Tommie Howell.

The 20 seniors and three juniors are enrolled in a direct, independent study class. They earn credit for it, and the projects they have been working on will last a very long time, Howell said.

The students said they had to be interviewed by Howell, and some of the students were amazed that he grilled them on their attendance, hobbies and future plans.

Webb said she missed a lot of days during the first semester of her junior year, and Howell asked a lot of questions concerning that. She said he even knew some of the answers to lot of the questions he asked.

In other words, the questions Howell asked weren’t softball questions, Webb said.

“Golden Guides serve as guides and ambassadors to the school. … They were given privileges that were part of their responsibilities,” Howell said.

“They have to be beyond reproach as far as character and values, because they do represent the school,” said Howell, who returned to the “classroom” for the first time since teaching physics in 1996 while he was an assistant principal at BHS.

Howell said this class, however, doesn’t meet on a daily basis. There are days when he doesn’t even see the students.

But the students have done a lot of work with the school and its daily routines, and they have done a lot of historical research.

Among some of the projects were to research and enter into a database the major scholarship winners from years past; enter into a database all the Bainbridge High School graduates from when the school was first established; log and key to a map the more than 160 memorial trees planted at the new school; research and suggest ideas for memorializing those BHS victims of the Winecoff Hotel fire; research and suggest ways students can learn from social media such as cell phones; and finally suggest ways to increase recycling and school spirit among the high school’s student body.

Last Tuesday, he sat down with each student to discuss their grade for the class and the projects that they were to have worked on.

Allison Howard said she was interested in the class, “Because the main reason is I love Bainbridge High School, and I wanted to do anything I could to make it better.”

Ashley Wimberly said she signed up because “It was something new, something that no one had every done.”

It’s ended up being more like a real-world experience, Wimberly said. “It’s a job without pay.”

Tiera Nixon said “We have a huge appreciation of the school and what it takes to make it run.”

And if Howell was to grade the class, he would pass it.

“I’ve been real pleased with how it turned out,” Howell said. It will be tweaked a little bit next year, but the basic foundation has been a success.

“It’s been a good thing. They have stepped up to a leadership role,” Howell said.