Community Volunteer Services Spotlight
Published by Laurie Pender on October 14, 2016

Image of attentive audience at the recent GEMS and YMD Induction CeremonyThe faculty, staff, students, and families at Luther “Nick” Jeralds Middle School (NJMS) recently kicked off the 2016-2017 school year with an Inaugural Celebration. The celebration is the opening ceremony for two very special mentoring programs, G.E.M.S. (Gracefully Emerging Members of Society) and Y.M.D. (Young Men of Distinction).

G.E.M.S. and Y.M.D. are leadership academies sponsored by the faculty and staff of NJMS.  Each academy is designed to provide a select group of young ladies and young men with mentoring, academic monitoring, and cultural enrichment.  Students must complete an application to be considered for this very special opportunity. Membership in the G.E.M.S. and Y.M.D. leadership academies comes with responsibility.  The members are required to be role models for other students, to maintain good grades, and to complete community service hours.

The Inaugural Celebration was a joyful time. Families and friends watched as the young ladies received their pearls and the young men were formally introduced as the 2016-2017 class of each respective leadership academy. During the celebration, former students reflected on the personal impact of each program.

“Being a G.E.M. has shaped and polished me into the young lady that I am today. Ladies, remember to give back to your community and to prepare for a bright future.”
~Miss Ayana Simon, Junior, Pine Forest High School

 “The word ‘distinction’ means to set apart from others. The mentoring program [Y.M.D.] taught me to do just that….to solidify myself as a leader at my school.”
~Mr. Kai Fenty, Junior, Cumberland International Early College High School

The Honorable Judge Stephen C. Stokes served as the guest speaker for the event. He offered words of wisdom and encouragement to students and their parents.  Judge Stokes challenged students to serve their community and not succumb to peer pressure and other distractions such as social media.  Attributes such as a strong will and invincible determination will allow G.E.M.S. and Y.M.D.  to distinguish themselves from others.  Last but not least, parents were reminded of the tremendous value that is attributed to their support of the school and these young leaders.  Students cannot complete community service hours without the assistance of their parents/guardians.

Over the course of the school year, G.E.M.S. and Y.M.D. will participate in a myriad of events. The faculty and staff at NJMS have planned a fantastic year of service. However, community support is appreciated. Caring adults may support either program by serving as guest speakers (i.e. etiquette, leadership, overcoming obstacles, etc), providing opportunities for community service, and financial contributions.  For more information contact the Mrs. Kanisha Jones-Dunor ( or Mr. Roy Mayhew ( by e-mail or telephone, 910.822.2570.



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