RC Early College students join tribe with Learning Center students

Published 7:07 pm Saturday, November 19, 2016

A North American Indian ceremony with feasting and dancing took place Friday as two schools became one tribe.

In a room at the Vicksburg campus of Hinds Community College, the students of River City Early College High School sat around a campfire of decorative lights and paper flames to induct the students of Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center into their tribe.

The two schools came together Friday morning for the Pow Wow party to celebrate Thanksgiving and to forge a relationship among the students.

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“We want River City to be a service school,” guidance counselor Marian Richardson said. “We wanted to reach out to the community and make a special day.”

Richardson thought hosting the students of Jacob’s Ladder, a school for students with intellectual disabilities, would create the ideal partnership with RCECHS students and help develop skills that would serve them in life.

“It’s really important that my students don’t think of people who don’t look like them in a disrespectful way… We don’t pity them. We respect them,” Richardson said. “That’s what is key, is increasing their life experiences.”

Jacob’s Ladder director and teacher Rebecca Busby was excited about the partnership because she likes having the students involved in the community.

“I just think it’s great all around,” Busby said. “It’s good for our students to be out of school practicing life skills, and its good for her students to learn empathy and respect and how to interact with those that might be a little bit different.”

Most of the students were decked out in headbands and face paint. An intense game of Simon says, a mini-race and a story along with a skit took place as the students sat around the campfire.

“I got to paint. It was good. I made a new friend,” Jacob’s Ladder student Matthew Grogan said pointing to his buddy for the day, RCECHS student Tiffnetta Modelist.

“We got inducted into our tribe,” she said.

“It was fun. We danced, and we’re about to go play basketball.”

After the tribal induction, students were set loose outside to play in a carnival of sorts with a manicure station, basketball, cornhole, a craft table to make owls out of construction paper and music that kept the students dancing all morning.

“I did facepaint on my face, and made an owl. Then I did cornhole,” Jacob’s Ladder student Carol Bufkin said. “It’s been good.”

Lots of smiles and laughter could be found on the sunny fall day.

“This is the best day ever, of my entire life,” RCECHS student Logan Sanderford said.

The party ended with a Thanksgiving feast for lunch.

“I’m excited about what our partnerships with different groups in the community can mean for the future of Jacob’s Ladder,” Busby said. “It enriches the lives of our students, and I hope it enriches the lives of those we interact with.”