Lions’ Den roars into DMS, seeks to teach and reward
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:04 am
The extra-large smiles and extra-loud enthusiasm witnessed at Monday morning assembly couldn’t be attributed to just the fact that Dresden Middle School students were hours away from the beginning of their spring break.
They were also seconds away from the grand opening of something within the walls of their building that would be one of the first of its kind in Weakley County Schools.
After morning announcements, an enormous red ribbon gated the entrance to the former DMS concession stand and when Claire Oliver used a giant pair of scissors to cut the ribbon, thunderous applause erupted from staff, students and local community members as the school’s new store – The Lions’ Den – officially opened for business.
“Coach Hart came up with the idea from an episode of Channel 1,” DMS Principal Pam Harris explained.
“She was very enthusiastic about getting the store started, so she talked to me and Jamie Rickman, we had a meeting with teachers and had planning sessions and that started before Christmas.”
Each DMS student has the opportunity to earn Dresden bucks by demonstrating good behavior, outstanding character and consistent participation. Harris admitted that by offering the students the opportunity to earn Dresden Bucks and in turn, the opportunity to spend them at the school store, motivation is generated for the students to excel academically.
“It’s a positive reward program,” she summarized.
Students take their Dresden Bucks and deposit them as they would at a bank. Then, when they visit the store and wish to purchase an item, a check is written, the Dresden Bucks money is subtracted from the account and the student is given the new up-to-date amount that he or she has in the account.
“If a student has money in the account at the end of the school year, that money rolls over to the next school year,” Hart explained.
“Anybody in the community can volunteer to donate items to be sold in the store. We have the concession stand and an extra closet full of items. We’ve been open about a month just to see how everything would go before holding an official grand opening. The community support has been amazing and the faculty has been amazing. Our biggest goal is to see how we might be able to do this the next school year.”
Hart also mentioned that buying items in the store gave most of the students an opportunity to make purchases as gifts when they would otherwise not have any money to spend. From school items to belt rentals to designer purses to sports-related memorabilia donated by the University of Tennessee at Martin, the Memphis Redbirds and the Jackson Generals, the store contains enough of a variety to satisfy the needs and interests of everyone.
At the same time, the teachers love the store for its usefulness in teaching money management, math skills and organization – tools that will become vital as students go through school and grow into adults.
Run by Beta Club students, the Lions’ Den promises to be a versatile tool and a bright addition to the DMS lineup offering both education and entertainment to the school day.