A new adventure is underway at Marion Elementary School where students work to build relationships with community leaders. The “Call Me Mister” lunch was started by teacher Shannon Ward who said the program is for students to interact with community role models and business leaders in McDowell County. “Also, for our students to realize there are many opportunities available for them within McDowell County,” she said. The mentoring program is for all fourth grade male students with the hopes of continuing the mentoring with them as fifth graders. “The need for a male mentoring program was indicated by our school improvement plan, and we chose fourth grade because they would still be at our school next year to provide two years to build relationships,” said Marion Elementary Principal Ashley McCartha. “School data indicates the need to support our male students in different ways. We hope to provide these students with opportunities to learn about different career areas available within our county. All mentors are local community leaders, business folks, or entrepreneurs. We also are working to promote the importance of education, dedication to a task and developing plans to reach goals with our students.”

 The following “misters” attended the first lunch:

Mr. Kyle Brown – Finance; Mr. Larry Hill - Retired Electrical Engineer; Mr. DJ Barrier - Marion Police; Department; Mr. Terry Frank - McDowell County School Board Member; Mr. Michael King - Workout Anytime; Mr. Randall Conley - McDowell County Government; Mr. Nick Byrd - McDowell County Health Coalition; Mr. Steven Arrowood - McDowell Farm Bureau; Mr. Greg Hughes-McDowell County Schools; Mr. Aaron Slutsky-McDowell County Schools; Mr. Jarrod Kirby-McDowell County Schools.