Three Muscogee County students beamed with pride Friday in the Government Center’s Plaza as The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office recognized them as rising community leaders.
Alexsandra Chavez of South Columbus Elementary School, Brandon Wilkins of Veterans Memorial Middle School and Ian Rodriguez of Northside High School all received recognition as Rising Stars from Sheriff John T. Darr Friday.
“This Rising Star program is an opportunity for the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office to recognize young men and young ladies who are out here setting a good example, being good peers and doing the right thing, and just being what we call good kids and good citizens,” Darr said.
The Rising Star program has been ongoing for about two years, and includes not just recognition, but prizes donated by 34 local businesses. Each Rising Star during Friday’s program received a bag filled with goods such as office supplies and free meals at restaurants.
“These kind of programs are only as successful as the partners we have,” Darr said. “We’re able today to give these young men and this young lady prizes estimated at $700 each, and we would not be able to do that without our sponsors.”
Chavez, a 4th grader who came to the U.S. from Mexico two years ago, was nominated for her academic persistence and excellence. She said she was excited to have been named a Rising Star and that it meant a lot to her family.
“I’m excited, because it’s the most emotional thing I’ve ever had happen to me,” she said.
Wilkins, an 8th grader nominated for his leadership in several after-school groups, said he was grateful for the nomination because of the positive effect he believes it will have for his future.
“This is such a great honor,” Wilkins said. “It’s going to help a lot in my future and what I want to do. I want to do something in politics. I’m not sure what branch of government yet.”
Rodriguez, a graduating senior who plans to attend Georgia State University, said receiving the award meant a lot, and that he was thankful to his teacher Michael Edmonson for nominating him. Rodriguez was nominated for his dedication to his studies and his church, as well as his willingness to help others in the classroom.
“I’ve worked hard my past senior year, and I’ve been trying to finish strong,” Rodriguez “Getting this award, it’s an honor.”