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Strung Together

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By JON LANCE

News-Telegram Photographer

One hundred Sulphur Springs High School students volunteered Wednesday to help Douglas Intermediate School’s incoming fifth graders learn what it means to be a leader during a Dare to Dream camp held in their gym.

Dare to Dream is a free, three-day event, sponsored by the Sulphur Springs Independent School District, featuring teamwork related games and workshops on different characteristics of leadership. The program began in the middle 1990s in Sulphur Springs and has spread to several counties throughout East Texas. This year, more than 100 students attended the workshop at Douglas.  “When school starts next week, our students will commit to our teachers that they will be leaders in the classroom, “ said Jeff Harris, Sulphur Springs Middle School history teacher and SSISD character curriculum coordinator and camp director. This year, Dare to Dream’s theme is the movie “Remember the Titans” starring Denzel Washington. The film is the true story about a high school coach dealing with a racially integrated football teams in the South in 1971.  On Wednesday morning, the students watched a 10-minute scene from the film where Washington, playing Coach Boone, says that the best players will play regardless of color. After the scene, C.J. Duffey took the stage to speak about diversity.  “Pastor C.J. Duffey told the students It does not matter how tall, poor, rich, or what color you are, what truly matters is who you are on the inside,” said Harris. “We do not judge people, and on the inside we can go as far a we want to achieve our dreams.”  The kids then divided in several groups led by high school students to discuss the video and Duffey’s remarks. After the fifth graders finished the group discussion, several students stood up infront of the whole group to give their thoughts and feeling on diversity. Next, students participated in several team-building games, such as a yarn toss game. During the game, students were asked personal questions over the loud speaker, such as what is their favorite food or color. Fifth grade students got to tell their group something about themselves. By the end of the game, students were holding a giant spiderweb of yarn representing all the different qualities each student shares with another.     Just before lunch time, SSISD Police Chief Jim “BJ” Bayuk spoke on submitting to authority.  Some of the other topics the fifth graders will be discussing this week are teamwork, unity, leaders step forward, using individual talents, winning with integrity and overcoming adversity. Guest speakers will include Dr. Tod Conner, SSHS head football coach Greg Owens and former NFL football player Tyreo Harrison.  “Every discussion we have, all comes back to leadership, “ said Harris. After the program is completed Friday, Harris will continue leadership training with the children for the rest of the year.  “Each month we will re-instill a quality from this movie after showing a video clip,” said Harris.    On Friday at 3:30 p.m., Douglas students will have the chance to declare what they learned during the final ceremony. Parents are invited to the ceremony as the students will pledge to be leaders to their teachers in and outside the classroom. For more information on the final ceremony or Dare to Dream, contact Jeff Harris at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Dare to Dream has also received a T-shirt donation from Sulphur Springs Dodge in which every student at Douglas will be receiving a Dare to Dream shirt when school starts on Aug. 26.        

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