WTOC anchor Sonny Dixon visited Walker Middle School on Thursday to promote the school’s C.H.A.M.P.S. program. C.H.A.M.P.S., which stands for choosing healthy activities and methods promoting safety, is a 13-week Georgia Sheriffs’ Association program that teaches fifth-graders about drug awareness, internet safety, abduction prevention, how to handle peer pressure and bullying and staying safe while home alone.
“My message to all of you is, ‘Ya’ll take care!’ but doing that is more than just saying it,” Dixon said.
He explained to the WMS students that taking care of oneself means addressing physical, mental, social and spiritual health.
“Don’t put poison in your body. You wouldn’t put that cleaning stuff under your momma’s sink in your body, would you? You wouldn’t put all that stuff that your dad has in his garage in your body. Then don’t put alcohol or drugs in your body,” the anchor said.
Dixon talked to the children about peer pressure and how to avoid it.
“Don’t you let anybody talk you into to doing anything that will hurt you,” he said. “When I was in school I was called skinny by some of the other kids and that hurt my feelings, but you know what? I was beautiful inside, and all of you are beautiful inside in your own way, every one of you.”
Walker Middle School has participated in the C.H.A.M.P.S. program for three years. The program is taught by Brantley County Sheriff’s office Deputy David Hicks. This year, he said, 210 WMS students completed the program.
“I hope that what I teach them stays with them throughout their life,” Hicks said.
Every year, the WMS C.H.A.M.P.S. program has a poster contest and a student of the year award. This year’s poster contest winner is Alexis Caldonia. Brittany DeLoach won second place; Aaron Thacker won third place; Brianna Lord won fourth place; and Daniel Silinsky won fifth place. Salinsky also was named student of the year. Amber Page won the 100 percent award for earning a perfect score on the CHAMPS test.
Representatives from several law enforcement agencies also visited WMS.School Resource Officer Deputy Craig Nobles represented the Long County Sheriff’s Office and the board of education. Chief Deputy Robert Berry and Investigator Danny Dinkins also represented the LCSO. Sgt. Bruce DeLoach represented the Georgia State Patrol-Hinesville Post.
WMS Principal Dr. Vicky Wells said, “We were honored to have several police officers and Mr. Sonny Dixon from WTOC news participate in the graduation ceremony where every fifth-grader received a diploma. The students and the teachers appreciate Mr. Hicks and his endeavor to help our students become healthy, drug-free, law-abiding citizens.”