, Port Arthur, Texas

Port Arthur

June 4, 2014

TJMS's Project Restore Program students make positive change

PORT ARTHUR — Sometimes there are detours in the path of life.

For a group of 18 students at Thomas Jefferson Middle School that detour led them to the Project Restore Program and a chance at getting back on track.

For students such as Romeo Carr, 14, the program means having respect for others and changing his mindset.

“I was disrespectful to teachers but now have changed  a lot of my mindset. I used to always have to have the last word,” Carr said following the TJMS Project Restore Recognition Program at the school on Wednesday. “Now, I have more respect.”

Students in the program learned about discipline and how their choices affect others. They also learned to set goals through character building projects.

The program is a way to keep students in school and away from both in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension. Each time a child misses school it costs the Port Arthur Independent School District between $40 to $45 per day and the child misses valuable instruction time, Jamil-Abdul Jabbar, assistant principal, said.

“The intent is not to send students to the alternative campus,” he said.

Juanita Esquival was in attendance to watch her daughter, Maria Rojas, an eight grader, graduate from the program. The mom brought along her two younger children, Sinai, age 19 months, and Matthew, five months.

“The program has helped her a lot,” Esquivel said. “Sitting at home doesn’t work (as discipline). I can see the change in her.”

Rojas aspires to be a doctor, she told the class during the ceremony.

The students participating in the program are required to wear a white shirt and either khaki shorts or pants. Some of the students were sporting camouflage caps.

Quin`daiysha Hill and Sadante Provost offered words of thanks to the program staff and told of the changes they have made from taking responsibility for their own actions to respect for others.

Retired educator Mike Mason, who had worked with the students during their time in the program, offered words of wisdom; having a plan, setting it into action and reaching a goal.

Port Arthur Police Officer Marcello Molfino was one of the officers who worked with the students during the program thus offering a different view of a police officer.

“We are talking with students on a personal level. We’re dads, uncles and sons. We all have problems in our lives. When you fall down you have to dust yourself off and get up again,” Molfino said.


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