It was an especially good Friday for three area students who were honored by Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr for their role-model behavior.
Will Oliver, Hannah Wright and Joshua Batson were recognized as the Rising Star winners of winter 2015. The group walked away with a plaque, gift baskets full of prizes and the satisfaction of knowing that their good deeds didn’t go unnoticed.
“We’re fortunate to have people like this in our city and our community,” Darr said during a ceremony at the Government Center.
Oliver, a Northside High School student, participates in a Best Buddie Program in which a student with special needs is paired with a “regular-education student.” The 17-year-old winner has always treated the special-education students in a way that reassures them that they are no different from anyone else, like when he danced with them at prom, Darr said.
“I obviously want to go into special education as well, because seeing the kids smile every day is a blessing,” said Oliver, who awarded the people who have inspired him to be his best with flowers and gifts during the ceremony.
The sheriff said Wright, 13, is an “exceptional” and “academically brilliant” eighth grade student at Arnold Magnet Academy. She is a part of the gifted program, National Junior Honor Society and more. Her excellent grades have earned her a spot on the principal’s list three years in a row, Darr added.
“My parents really motivate me all the time to do my best. I would probably say my friends as well,” said Wright.
Many of Batson’s fellow students at Dimon Elementary Magnet Academy have described him as one of their most positive role models. Known as a self-disciplined and self-motivated person who does his best in any situation, Batson is a member of the Cub Scouts of America, AAA School Safety Patrol and more.
Batson said he was happy to earn the Rising Star award.
Darr concluded the ceremony by giving the students a few words of encouragement.
“You’re trying to balance academics and outside activities, and you’re doing a phenomenal job,” he said. “You should proud of yourself for being what we’re talking about — good role models.”
— Sarah is a crime & safety reporter at The Ledger-Enquirer. You can contact her on Twitter at @SarahR_92.