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      Etiquette and bow ties help transform middle schoolers

      WINNSBORO (WACH)-A group of teenage girls is getting a head start on being leading ladies of their community.

      The Elite Ladies Program at Fairfield Middle School is open to girls with at least a C average and 20 hours of volunteer service.

      The girls are taught fashion, etiquette, the arts and some say its really helped them grow.

      "Before Elite Ladies," says eighth grader Tykiria Alexander, "I was kind of ummm misbehaving but throughout the program, I've improved, I've let some friends go and gained new friends."

      The program is lead my mentors and educators to give the girls a place to belong.

      Mentor Elaine Kirkpatrick says, "by coming to a middle school and transferring from elementary school to a middle school, it is a big jump and its a lot of negativity when they come here to transform."

      Alexia Coston was diagnosed with a form of Alopecia at birth and says she experienced that negativity first hand.

      "Whenever I entered school, some people kept on picking on me," says Alexia, "some people called me baldie, some people called me unspecial, for a few days I felt everyone at the whole school hated me but then Elite Ladies helped me a lot."

      While the Elite Ladies have created a bond, they are not to be out done by members of the Bow Tie Club.

      "[The Bowtie Club] teaches us how to become a man and what it takes to become a man,"says Fairfield Middle Schooler Joshua Caldwell.

      Not only that, but Joshua and the members of the Bow Tie Club learn to actually tie a bowtie and the "Five Wells of Leadership."

      Superintendent of Fairfield County Schools, J.R. Green explains, "[The Five Wells of Leadership] states that all young men should be well read, well dressed, well spoken, well traveled and well balanced."

      Every month the boys sport their bowties and also take part in community service projects. Green says the Bow Tie Club goes beyond the classroom.

      "We want to be a part of not only what it takes to develop these young men academically because that's very very important," says Green, "but we also have to develop them personally ."

      Teaching boys and girls the fundamentals today so they can be leading men and women tomorrow.