Natchez High School honors good citizens at breakfast

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — A total of 45 students were honored for being the good citizens of Natchez High School.

And one student, junior Charles Chatman, was honored as the Student of the Year.

“These students were not good citizens just when it was convenient for them,” Assistant Principal Roberta Phipps said. “They respect people, make good grades, they are polite and that is why they are good citizens.”

Senior Kelli Puckett, 18, plays basketball, baseball and is on the track team, but he also takes time to be respectful on campus. Two of his teachers noticed and nominated him.

“I just look at is as, maybe if I am appropriate, somebody will learn from it and go with it,” Puckett said. “I was happy to be recognized by my teachers.”

NHS Partners in Education Committee Chair Sandra Peoples said the breakfast was put on because the school wanted students to know they appreciated them for always following the rules, treating others well and being a leader.

“This award is not based on grades,” Peoples said. “These awards are based on being a good, all-around citizen nominated by teachers who see the students every day of the school year.”

Chatman, 17, who didn’t know ahead of time he would be the Student of the Year, said he got nervous when Assistant Principal Jerry Knight’s alphabetical name call got into the D’s without calling Chatman.

That emotion had faded into excitement when they called his name at the end, Chatman said.

“I’m very happy,” Chatman said. “But I don’t feel like I deserve it.”

His nominating teacher, Phyllis Lewellyn, however, felt differently.

“I’m so proud of you,” Lewellyn said as she rubbed Chatman on the back. “I feel like you deserve it.”

Chatman, who is the assistant custodian at Fallin Career and Technology Center, was also congratulated by Fallin’s custodian, Donald Ray Calvin.

“He is one of the best I’ve ever had,” Calvin said. “I’ve worked with him for two years and he is getting better and better — I couldn’t ask for a better man.”

Principal Cleveland Moore Jr. had a conversation with Chatman earlier in the school year after Chatman got off of the school bus and dropped a notebook, which Moore picked up.

“Charles also writes music,” Moore said. “I picked it up and looked through it and there was music he had written on the bus.”

The students appreciate the honor, said 18-year-old senior Mary Ann Ray, who has been nominated all four years she has been at high school.

“I like to help others with anything I can,” Ray said. “It felt good to be nominated.”