By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON – Elementary school students in Pike County welcomed the new school year Friday with a visit from the superhero Spider-Man.
Spider-Man visited Bevins, Blackberry and Southside elementary schools to discuss “the four things that lead to greatness” in young students.
He told the group of students and faculty that the keys to success are to never give up, always do the right thing, help other people and never be a bully.
“You are all like seeds,” the superhero told the students. “Every plant starts as a very small seed. Inside that seed, although it looks tiny, is the ability to be something great.”
Spider-Man told the students about the importance of following the rules and obeying their parents, teachers and principal, saying “Everyone, from soldiers to baseball players, and from doctors to even your teachers, have to follow rules from someone. These people became great by being a good listener and obeying the rules.”
Spider-Man emphasized to the children that helping other people and never being a bully is important as well.
“Sometimes when people have a sad heart, they don’t talk to others about how they are feeling. Their sad heart then becomes a mad heart, and they might pick on others,” he said. “It is important to tell a teacher when you see someone getting picked on. That is what a hero would do.”
Southside Elementary Assistant Principal Rhonda Crigger said the kids were very enthusiastic about Spider-Man and choosing a superhero to speak with the children was an excellent way to grab their attention.
“We have really been trying to allow our children to take ownership of their learning skills and behavior this year,” Crigger said. “Our motto for the school year is ‘grow to greatness.’ Kids naturally look up to these superhero characters and we knew inviting Spider-Man to speak with our children would encourage them to grow to greatness.”
Southside Elementary Principal Jill Maynard discussed the school’s goals for the year and said Spider-Man’s speech was similar to what they have been teaching their students.
“This year we are trying to have children set goals for themselves,” Maynard said. “These goals aren’t just academic but personal and behavioral as well. We are encouraging children to be more honest, safe, caring, responsible and respectful, and that is what Spider-Man discussed with our students today as well.”
Pike County Family Resource Coordinator Vanessa Gillispie aided in recruiting Spider-Man, with a $5oo grant from the Pike/Floyd ASAP.
Spider-Man told the Daily News he is with the Huntington-based business “Heroes 4 Higher,” which aims to give children a positive, motivational message from their favorite superheroes.
Spider-Man has visited 231 schools since last September and said it is “always a blast” to see the looks on kids’ faces while he is speaking to them. He has also visited elementary schools in Mingo County, West Virginia.
For more information regarding Heroes 4 Higher, visit the website at h4h.us or call 304-972 2311.