Group lifts mood in school bathroom

Published 7:58 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Some female members of the Watchdog Club at King’s Fork High School decorated one of the bathrooms with positive affirmations earlier this month.

The affirmations were the idea of the club’s academic advisor, Shameka Council.

“We have some girls in ninth grade, some in 10th and some in 11th. Some of these girls have suffered with low self-esteem,” Council said. “I had them really tell me how they felt with these quotes and what would inspire someone else.”

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After brainstorming quotes, the girls sent their quotes to Council, and she printed them out as stickers. Council’s students placed them on the bathroom doors, and more girls followed suit by adding positive messages in marker on the stalls.

“There might be a girl that had a bad night because maybe of an absent mom or dad, and these quotes might help her have a better day,” Council said.

Council feels good about the project, and she’s hoping that she might be able to add them in other parts of the school.

The rest of the Watchdog Club also does community service projects, but the club’s main purpose is to help bridge the gap between the Suffolk Police Department and the community, specifically the students.

Master Police Officer Chalimous Grant, the school resource officer, brought the program to Suffolk back in 2009, and he leads the group in education about Virginia law.

“I do the community service, and he talks to them about Virginia laws. He teaches classes about a range of things,” Council said. “The education also correlates with the Virginia Standards of Learning.”

The program also allows the students to assist with security. The students sign up for basketball and football games, wear matching T-shirts and help make sure everyone stays safe.

The club allows Council and Grant to be role models to kids that need it the most.

“We are here to build them up and be a positive role model,” Council said. “I have seen a lot of change in their behavior.”

Council has seen some of the students grow for the last two to three years, and she is happy to see positive changes.

“One of my students, when she was in ninth grade, was very negative, talked all the time, but now I have seen so much change in her,” Council said.

Along with the bathroom project, the Watchdog Club has made Thanksgiving dinner baskets and a basket for breast cancer survivors.