By Rebecca Croomes
Rocking chairs inspire images of friendly front porches, Southern hospitality and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, and Limestone County students wanted to extend that hospitality Friday to those in need.
Students from West Limestone and Clements high schools joined forces for the day to raise money for the Limestone County Family Resource Center during the annual Rockathon. They placed rocking chairs along the sidewalks of Market and Jefferson streets on The Square and rocked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Teachers Laine Morris from West and Dana Jackson from Clements said they chose The Square because they knew there would be plenty of foot and automobile traffic Friday with the Storytelling Festival.
By 10 a.m., the students had already collected funds from storefronts, and Morris said a deliveryman even stopped his truck to jump out and hand the kids some cash.
Morris thought the day was a valuable lesson for her students.
“It’s just great to me that they see the importance of reaching out to the community,” she said. “I tell you it’s a blessing to me, because I love to get the kids involved.”
Jackson said the teens are the “cream of the crop,” and are being taught at home about the value of helping others.
“They show you that there’s still good hearts out there wanting to do something for somebody other than themselves.”
The participants were divided into different teams, each submitting a minimum pledge of $150. Represented were Clements Student Government Association and Sr. Beta Club members from West and Clements.
West Limestone junior Jacob Martin said all kinds of students were there: basketball players, cheerleaders and band members, all working together.
“Good representation of our school here today,” he said. “I’m hoping we can give back to our community.”
However, he had a prediction for the end of the day.
“Anyone out here is going to benefit from it more than we give to the community,” he said.
Martin also said the teachers help the students get involved and fit service opportunities into their busy schedules, so the experience is “less stressful” for all involved.
“They don’t force it upon us,” he said. “I think it’s good for us.”
This is the second year Rockathon proceeds have benefited the FRC, Jackson said. She organized the event last year, and saw there would be a greater need in 2013, so she opened the event to other schools.
Limestone County Schools Superintendent Thomas Sisk stopped by to express his support and encouraged the teachers to keep students involved in civic engagement.
“This project is a great, fun way to do it,” he said to Jackson and Morris.