Currently students in the Jobs for America's Graduates program at Bastrop High School are working on a non-violence campaign that will raise money for JAG sponsored activities including diversity trips. Coach Rodney Anthony is helping them to promote the t-shirts for the campaign which they are calling Rams Against Violence. They are selling T-shirts with the slogan “Pull up your pants! Put down the weapons” for $10 for small to extra large size or $12 for any size bigger than extra large. They have sold 111 shirts so far.
The JAG program works to help students succeed in school and prepare for the workforce by giving students different opportunities to get more involved with their school and community. It was started as a dropout prevention program that has since proven itself as a successful state-level strategy for tackling high drop-out rates, low academic performance, youth unemployment and critical issues related to at-risk youth. JAG supervisors Larry Green and Maurice Crowder said they call their student group the SWAG unit which stands for Students with the Ability to Graduate.
Some of the programs they have helped with over the past year include a Lifeshare Blood Drive, reading books to students at H.V. Adams Elementary, visiting the National Military Park in Vicksburg, Miss., visiting the Hall of Fame in Grambling, visiting the science museum in Shreveport. Students also had an opportunity to do some job shadowing with Legacy Hospice in Monroe.
Green calls the JAG program “a beacon of hope” for students. Last year, the BHS' program was nationally recognized and won second place in last year's leadership conference. This year the students will attend the conference on May 7 in Nachitoches. Both Green and Crowder said they hope to see this program expand to other schools in the area.