We have been blessed to see many Super Citizen Graduations take place, but one celebration at Boaz Intermediate was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. The fifth grade class decided to nominate seven separate heroes during their Super Citizen Graduation, but one of those heroes was actually a whole senior class. They were honored for the kindness they’ve shown to the family of Peyton Williams, a would-be senior at Boaz High School who was killed in a car accident four years ago.
“My heros are the Boaz High School Class of 2015,” says fifth grader Mattie Ann Burnett in an essay she read aloud at the graduation. “Because they have continued to keep Peyton Williams memory alive.”
Since Williams, along with his cousin and grandmother, died in-route to an Auburn Football game, the 2015 class has included Peyton’s family in all of their activities, in hopes to show comfort and support during their loss. This touching gesture has especially made an impact on their younger classmates like Mattie Ann.
Mattie Ann continues explaining, “My heroes have surpassed what any other good citizen has done before, they have demonstrated courage for standing up for what is right during the most difficult times in their life. They have shown commitment by being dedicated in honor a memory. They have also displayed compassion by showing kindness to a family that needed their support.”
Peyton’s father Patrick Williams sits in the crowd during the celebration with his wife Lashea and his daughter McKenna. It’s an emotional day for the Williams family as they see Mattie Ann and her fifth grade class honor their family and the 2015 Senior Class.
“I was just really overwelmed with, number one: how beautifully it was written, but also the fact that she had taken all of these qualities that she saw in a group of students, you know seven or eight years older than her – and how observant she was about how they handled a tradegy,” said Williams. “Listening to her talk about it today, we had a lot of pride in it and obviously it was emotionally to some degree.”
The fifth graders also honored Brian Cahela, Loni Estes, Allen Ledbetter, Denise Colon, Kevin Naler, and West Whitmire during their graduation celebration. Sponsors Job Source and AlaTrade Foods have have supported Boaz Intermediate for two years now.
“It takes a community to help these kids grow and be good citizens and we can’t do it with just the school teachers and parents. It takes sponsorships of local businesses to make something like this happen,” said community member and Torch Team Hero West Whitmire.
“It’s a good thing that we honor the good things about America and the good things about this school, and the good things about this state. And never lose sight in that, and take pride in not only being an individual, but a collective part of the community and that’s something special. It’s something that I think this program helps to promote within the kids.”