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JMS continues its tradition of giving

By Mark Knight

In a time of economic strain, it might seem too difficult to come together for those in need.  But Jemison Middle School continues to do so into the winter and spring.
JMS is already focused on its award-winning Relay For Life team and the team’s fundraising.  According to Relay chairwoman Shonda Copen, the school is not at a loss for ideas.
“Our faculty and student participation has been incredible,” Copen said. “We’ve even had kids bring in lists of Relay fundraising ideas because they want to help out even more.Our Valentine’s Day pictures raised over $1,000, and we’re also selling Valentine’s candygrams.  But that’s just for starters.”
Copen said other fundraising ideas include Jean Fridays for faculty and a big school dance in the spring when the weather is warmer.
Assistant principal David Seale is also getting into the act.  A part-time musician, Seale has created a downloadable album of original songs with the proceeds going to the Relay team.
“I’ve released a few albums on iTunes, and I had a couple of new songs as well, so I set up an online store with an 18-song collection of old and new tracks for only $10, and that money will go to our team,” Seale said. “It’s a way for people to donate to a terrific cause and get a little something for themselves in the process.”
Two of the songs have true JMS connections.  One song, “Closer”, is a duet with JMS 7th grader Sarah Brantley that was performed at last year’s JMS talent show.  Another is a song Seale wrote years ago that he has played for JMS kids in past years.
“I played ‘Fat Dog’ for some fifth graders a couple of years in a row, and this year, several of them asked when I was going to record it,” he said.  “So I thought, ‘Why not?,’ and it’s now a reality.”
The album is available at davidseale.bandcamp.com. Buyers can get the whole album or just individual songs in formats that are compatible with mp3 players, iTunes, and iPods. He is also selling a seven-song CD for students for $3.
The Relay fundraising comes after two other incredibly successful drives.  As reported by The Clanton Advertiser in December, JMS history teacher Scott Ellison initiated a winter coat collection in which JMS sixth graders accumulated nearly 150 coats for needy students and families in Chilton County.
And Copen headed up the freeze pop drive for US troops fighting overseas.  With an initial goal of 1,500, the school surpassed that mark within the first few days.
“We had one homeroom alone reach 1,500, so our goal had to be adjusted,” Copen said. “I am just overwhelmed with the response from our school family here in Jemison.”
Ellison echoed Copen’s sentiments: “I know times are tough for so many families in our area and state.  To see the spirit of giving come through so strongly in our students is very inspiring, and I know that it will make a difference in their lives to see that their positive actions have an effect on others.”

JMS names students, teacher of the month
Jemison Middle School recently selected its students and teacher of the month for February.
The teacher of the month is Julie Lawrence.
Students of the month are: eighth grade, Madison Smith and Austin Dansby; seventh grade, Tyler Henderson and Maggie Zhang; sixth grade, Jordan Mahaffey and Kasia Millender; fifth grade, Alexis Easterling and Drew Bryant.

Mark Knight is the principal of Jemison Middle School.