DARLINGTON, S.C. – Young boys at Brunson-Dargan Elementary School are learning and practicing skills not always found in text books that the school hopes will help them be more successful now and as adults.
The student-members of the Little Gents Club are taking part in dedicated learning about respect, responsibility, manners, appropriate professional attire and other related skills.
Fifth grader Lamont Bivens enthusiastically explained his experiences since joining the club.
“I think it’s great. We are learning how to be respectful, use table manners and how to be respectful to ladies,” he said. “It makes me feel like an adult gentleman.”
Earlier this school year, Physical Education teacher Joseph Gainey and School Resource Officer Keith Cauthen founded the Little Gents Club. They hoped it would provide positive learning experiences for the boys that translate into their futures.
“I came up with the idea after realizing there is some lack of positive male figures in the community,” Gainey said. “With Officer Cauthen’s help we started the club, and it’s a way we hope to help students stay on the right track academically and with self-esteem while giving them tools to help them be successful in life.”
The club’s inaugural members meet every morning at 7:30 a.m. sharp to discuss their purpose and to focus on the day ahead.
“I was all for it,” Cauthen said. “I only had my mom when I was growing up, so I know what it’s like. We want to do anything we can to help these kids out.”
Gainey and Cauthen have worked with the boys on learning about tying a tie, table manners and holding an open door for others. The Little Gents Club handed out programs and ushered patrons of Brunson-Dargan’s holiday program and participated in the school’s Veterans Day program. The club held a Dress Up Day, during which the boys wore professional attire to school. Gainey and Cauthen hope to make the day a regular one on the calendar. Other goals for the club include progressing academically, learning to make better decisions and setting and working to achieve goals.
Teo Goodson, another fifth-grade Little Gent, echoed Bivens’ excitement when talking about the club.
“I think it’s a learning experience, because we are learning how to be gentlemen,” he said. “It makes me feel like I’m learning how to be a real gentleman and how to ask for help if you need it.”
Brunson-Dargan Principal Ada Sindab said faculty and staff in the schools have noticed the students’ efforts to take on more responsibility for their actions. She thanked Gainey and Cauthen for taking the initiative to act where they saw a need.
“I am so proud of Coach Gainey and Officer Cauthen,” she said. “When I heard their vision, I told them to go for it. I particularly enjoyed that Dress Up Day. I think programs like this are very important. In a world where there are many challenges for our youth, particularly our minority males, it’s important to their growth. The boys have been so helpful. Some of us have been saying that chivalry is not dead after all.”
Cauthen and Gainey notified the boys’ parents and guardians, informing them of goals and expectations and seeking permission for their children to join. The two said they continue to work on their schedules and other details for the club with a hope to expand it in the future.
For more photos, please visit https://darlingtoncountyschools.smugmug.com/Brunson-Dargan-Elementary/i-X6kMRkB.
For more information, please visit www.darlington.k12.sc.us.