MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Pulaski County Special School District held its 2nd Annual fitness challenge Saturday morning.
The program targets 7th and 8th grade students from different schools within the district. Mills High senior Jeremiah Toney is fresh off of winning a state basketball title earlier this week, but he’s spending his weekend mentoring other students. He represents selected high school ambassadors that volunteer their time as role models.
"If you want to have a good life and be prosperous in your life then education is the way out,” Toney said. "When I was growing up, I didn't have anybody to really talk to and look up to."
He thinks that events like these help teach the importance of building relationships and that helps create leaders. More than 100 7th and 8th graders joined in games that challenged their ability to work together. Something Bennie Bower, Director for PCSSD Safety and Security said is important.
"The back of our shirts says, show me your friends, and I'll show you your future,” Bower said. "It's important for our younger kids to see that they've got older kids that they may look up to, that supports something like this."
Bower believes this program offers students rewards, teaching them how to become more engaged, and what better way to do it than by using sports as an example? But he couldn't do it alone, Ambassadors, parents, and volunteer security guards all help with the effort.
"They know the importance of building relationships with young people,” Bower said. “To let the young people know that we are serious about establishing a culture of safety to support education."
Now Toney looks to begin a new journey, as day one of college approaches. Toney said that no matter the challenge, he hopes others know that they too can make it.
"Don't ever let anybody tell you that you can't do something in your life,” Toney said. “If you want to do something, go out there and make it happen."
Although this event only happens once a year, students said they leave knowing that the relationships built will last forever.