The Commerce Journal

June 13, 2014

Reading program to develop leaders

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal


The leaders at Commerce Independent School District and Texas A&M University-Commerce want to equip the student leaders at Commerce High School with tools to be successful in and out of the classroom. 

A&M-Commerce and CISD have partnered to form a Commerce High School summer reading program with CHS Principal David Welch. The program will go through the book “The Other Wes Moore,” a true story about two people named Wes Moore who grew up minutes from each other under nearly the same circumstances. One Moore grew up to be a veteran and successful businessman, the other was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence.

According to Dr. Lavelle Hendricks, with the Department of Psychology, Counseling & Special Education and a school board member, the book was chosen to help the students with their observation, interpretation and application skills. 

“The one Wes Moore went down path A, which led to success, the other Wes Moore went down path B, which led to destruction,” he said, adding the book shows the consequences of right and wrong choices. “What are we going to do about it?”

There are eight students in the program, and Hendricks said the program is designed to help enhance reading skills, develop a stronger vocabulary, and along with increasing their observation, interpretation and application skills, improve on their reading comprehension. 

As a former English teacher who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the subject, A&M-Commerce President Dr. Dan Jones said he appreciates the way Hendricks and the school district is handling the importance of having a good grasp of the language. 

“This is a great project,” he said. “This is a great way to spend part of your summer.”

Jones said improving one’s skill of the language holds importance that echoes after your high school and college years. 

“It improves your facility in language overall,” he said. “One thing all employers want, and all successful people have, is the ability to communicate.”

CISD Superintendent Blake Cooper said the students were chosen for two reasons in particular: because they are considered the leaders on campus and he wants to equip them with being able to effectively communicate their ideas. 

Cooper said the reading program is more work for the students, but as leaders, they are expected to go the extra mile. 

“It’s a little bit extra,” he said. “But with leadership, it takes a little extra.”

The eight students include Jaystin Wilson, DeLance Sharp, Darien Dugan, Diquedrian Goodson, Samuel Rasberry, Darian Redd, Cameron Scott and Tristan McGowan.