Marshall Middle School club aims to help boys stay on track

Marshall Middle School teacher Stanley Glover gathers with students from Gentlemen’s Quest, including Justin Turner, top row at left, Bradley Williams, top row at right, and Thomas Steed, Ezekiel Dorsaint, Brian Adams and Christopher Moore, bottom row from left.

Jason Logan | Special to the Times

Marshall Middle School teacher Stanley Glover gathers with students from Gentlemen’s Quest, including Justin Turner, top row at left, Bradley Williams, top row at right, and Thomas Steed, Ezekiel Dorsaint, Brian Adams and Christopher Moore, bottom row from left.

PLANT CITY — Markese Hargrove still remembers the day Stanley Glover walked into his sixth-grade class at Marshall Middle School.

Like other students, the transition from elementary to middle school wasn't easy.

"I was falling behind," Markese said. "He came to one of my classes and saw the behavior."

Glover then called him out and spoke to him. It made an impression on the young boy. Something about the man that kept coming daily to check on him made him want to change the way he managed his life.

The shy boy eventually became confident when he spoke. His outlook changed and the young man in him began to emerge. He then became a role model and a leader.

Now an eighth-grader, he is the president of Gentleman's Quest, a club that encourages young men to achieve excellence in their academic environment, community and family life.

"I know (Glover) actually cares for me and that makes me a happier person," Markese said. "He's glad for the person I've become."

On Thursday, the club's Gold Tie Ceremony unfolded at school with music, song and poetry. The newest members had met the criteria and received their ties.

For Glover, it is yet another success story.

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As the club's sponsor, Glover, 47, expects GQ's members to live up to its tenets of respect, brotherhood and honor. Another teacher established the club at Marshall in 2007, borrowing from an idea originated by Ovett Wilson in Tampa.

Fashionable, fit and funny, Glover holds brief meetings with the boys in the mornings and after their classes at the end of the day. He jokes with them, counsels them and keeps them on track.

After school, he continues to make a positive impact on students through after school programs.

Willie Dennis, lead instructor of one of the school's after-school programs, says middle school boys can succumb to peer pressure if they get swept up in the wrong activities. Glover's mentoring also helps pull many of the after-school students in the right direction.

"It takes a special person to do what he does," Dennis said. "I call him the Pied Piper. He gives them love and they give it back."

Glover does so with his own brand of training. It begins with respect and building positive relationships, especially with teachers.

Another part of his mentoring involves building the boys' confidence with public speaking. Going back to his own childhood growing up in Lakeland, Glover was influenced an uncle who always captivated audiences when he spoke. In church, his mother frequently gave him opportunities to speak when she directed plays and other special programs.

"I always wanted to be able to articulate," Glover said.

Drawing from that experience, he tries to pass on his love of public speaking. Every boy is required to memorize a list of meaningful quotes that they select. In the classroom and at other events, Glover will often call on the boys individually to recite their quotes.

In teaching his students to be successful, Glover acknowledges, it isn't easy making middle schoolers understand the importance of school.

The goal of the club is for each member to stay motivated to keep his grades up on his own. No matter the middle school distractions, club members may have no lower than a B in conduct and no lower than a C in academic grades.

"I want them to know, 'I'm part of a brotherhood that compels me to do what's right,'" Glover said. "If you should fall you've got a helping hand to get you. You don't stand alone. You stand together."

Inside his classroom, GQ members can find a large, ornately framed mirror where they can check out their hair and smiles. Part of being a GQ guy is looking well-groomed and dressed smartly in a long-sleeve shirt, dress pants and a tie.

On certain days, all members are required to dress up for the whole day at school.

Besides providing vests, ties and other wardrobe items for students, Glover also keeps basic toiletries on hand for them at school.

Brian Perez surprised his mother, Evangelina Negrete, by ironing his own clothes one day, another skill Glover taught the boys so they could feel more independent.

"Since he joined GQ, I've noticed more enthusiasm in him, more of a desire to want to go to school," Negrete said in Spanish.

Brian, a seventh-grader, decided to join GQ this year. He wants the distinction of wearing what his mother calls la corbata de oro, the gold tie.

Marshall Middle School club aims to help boys stay on track 03/03/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 3, 2012 3:31am]

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