Zucker Middle School students benefit from Joint Base Charleston mentoring partnership

Jerry Zucker Middle School of Science and Joint Base Charleston are neighbors, and they share a special partnership. We're in North Charleston for our Cool School of the week.

On any given day, it's not unusual to see men and women in uniform from Joint Base Charleston at Jerry Zucker Middle School of Science. Counselor James Brooks says, “They are paired with a student, meet with that student usually once a week, for a half hour to an hour.”

Thirty mentors visit the school throughout the week. They work with the kids closely during their lunch break, before and after school, during advisory. Mentors bring lunch for students and help them work through social, emotional, and academic issues. Eighth grade student Jhanae Edmonson says, “Someone you can talk to, someone who can relate to you, a big sister kind of.” Airman First Class Craig Luce says, “I like to help out. If they need help with something, need someone to talk to, we can be that person to talk to or help them out with what ever they might need. I think we can definitely make a difference.” Thirteen-year-old Jamal Edmonson says they are. Jamal is a star basketball player and in middle school. He plays varsity basketball for a local high school. “I tell him what I need help in and he tells me and gives me advice about stuff I need to do in class. I don't like math, but this year, I got all straight A's on my progress report, so I think it's good. I think it's good because they're taking time out of their day, but they do it any way because they care,” says Jamal. Principal Jacob Perlmutter says, “The kids who leave, often stay in contact with their mentor after they leave middle school. So these are lasting relationships. It's a high return investment for us. The kids have access to a positive role model, someone who is right up the road, natural partnership. They really get invested in the kid's life, which is great.”

The mentoring program at Zucker has been ongoing for more than six years. The school is thankful for it's 25 business partners. The long list includes Boeing, the City of North Charleston, Louie's Kids, and Communities in Schools.

Zucker is a Hall of Fame school from The Community of Readers organization, a Laura Bush Foundation grant recipient, and they also had a visit from Governor Nikki Haley in recognition of their anti-bullying campaign.

Coming up Friday on News 2 Today, we'll present Jerry Zucker Middle School of Science with our Cool School award.

We want to hear about the good things going on at your school. send an email to octavia at omitchell@wcbd.com. maybe your school will be the next cool school of the week.

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