CLAY NATIONAL GUARD CENTER, Marietta, Ga. – It has been said, “a country built on knowledge alone will end with corruption and pain. It is our values that lead us. It is values that make a nation great.” That is why Georgia is investing into character development programs for middle and high school students. The Georgia National Guard realized the need as well and purchased 1,200 Medal of Honor Character Development kits to distribute to high schools throughout the state.
“The only way you change character is through the heart,” said George Chip, Georgia Guardsman and educator as he addressed the Board of Education. “(The curriculum) offers opportunities to explore concepts of courage, integrity and citizenship.”
In August of 2013 representatives from the Georgia National Guard made their case before the Georgia Board of Education and achieved approval for the MOHCD program to be adopted as part of the state’s approved curriculum for character development. Since then, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to train teachers on the use of the curriculum from around the state.
“The idea of buying the kits for schools started out with a few of us officers who were teachers,” said Maj. Mike Lipper, former education officer for the Georgia Army National Guard. “At first, we were only approved to buy ten of them, but after thinking about it some more, Chief Chip and I thought Georgia deserved more. So we put a brief together and presented it to our Army National Guard commanding general and the adjutant general who green lighted it for funding pending Board of Education approval.”
Now Guardsmen with the recruiting office are delivering nearly 900 of the kits to public middle and high schools across the state.
“I am happy to see that character development is taught at such a young age to help these students grow into better people, not only for the school but for the community as well,” said Staff Sgt. Rutha Nations, a recruiter for the Georgia Army National Guard.
“I think the principles and ideas are right on and can be used in conjunction with current programs our counselors already use,” said Maria Vandermey, a Campbell high school teacher.
“We have a number of different avenues to incorporate the Medal of Honor Curriculum,” said Denise Magee, Principal of Campbell High School. “We have a mentoring program called the elite gentlemen; a peer mediation program; a sources of strength program; a student advisory council and monthly home room meeting where teachers can incorporate this curriculum. [These programs] focus on how we can permeate character and leadership traits, not only here at Campbell but beyond Campbell to help with the development of the whole student.”
According to the Medal of Honor Character Development Program’s website, the program incorporates the ideals of courage and selfless service into the middle and high school curriculum to build character and promote responsible citizenship. The program was designed for use in a variety of education purposes, with lesson plans that use best practices based on national standards and core values. The program is enhanced by the addition of video teleconferencing with a Medal of Honor recipient addressing student assemblies or classrooms and interacting with students in question and answer sessions. More about the program can be found at: http://cmohfoundation.org/educational-outreach/CDP/