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Franklin Youth Initiative Graduates Boy’s Council

FMS – SGS Campus vice principal Daryn Plummer was the graduation’s keynote speaker.

More than two dozen township middle and high school students received graduation certificates July 30 from the Franklin Youth Initiative’s Boy’s Council program.

The ceremony was named in honor of Bruce Medley, who ran the program until his death earlier this year.

Begin in 2007, the program seeks to teach boys life skills, such as conflict resolution, team building and job seeking strategies.

This year, 25 students participated in the program.

The programs lead facilitator, Dennis Lue, moderated teh program,.

Speaking of Medley, a fixture in the township’s recreation program for decades, Lue said, “We expected him to be here.”

“He was more than just a mentor, he was a brother, he was a father figure, he was a friend,” Lue said. “Often he would go to football games, basketball games … he found time to do that. And I admired him for that.”

This year, members of teh Franklin Township Police Department’s Community Relations Bureau also participated in teh program.

FTPD Officer Kenneth Reid II, a member of the bureau, said he and his fellow officers were “excited to be here.”

“When we started to get into this program, we worked one-on-one with these kids,” he said. “These kids worked together.”

“We wanted to just let all of you guys know, and the parents, that we are going to be here,” Reid said. “We’re truly grateful for the staff to allow us to be a part of this program.”

Township Councilwoman Kimberly Francois, who was a founder of the Franklin Youth Initiative, told teh boys that the program, “will take you through the rest of your life. If you ever have the opportunity to talk to some of the young men who are alumni of the program, you will find that I am correct.”

Another of the program’s facilitators, Anthony Morgan, said he was impressed by the effort shown by the boys.

“I was so impressed because of the first week, a lot of guys were shy, they didn’t speak up,” he said. “The second week, same thing, third week, I looked and these young men were coming up, helping each other out.”

The keynote speaker, Daryn Plummer, who served as vice principal at Franklin Middle School — SGS Campus until his promotion to a new position at Franklin High School, told the boys that they need to “figure out the environments where you feel physically safe and psychologically safe.”

“You belong anywhere and everywhere in this world that you want to be,” he said.

“One of the first things you put on a resume is your name,” he said. “Your name has history, your name has culture, your name has society.”

“Finding people and places that you want to work, share your gifts, master skills, is going to be important,” he said. “If you don’t find that anywhere … I’m going to challenge you to change that environment and be the change you want to see.”

During the program, the students replicated part of their day, the check-out, during which they recounted what they learned in the program.

Isaiah Aiyegbo, a 9th Grader, said that he “had a pretty good time with boys council. I hope to come back. I learned a lot about conflict resolution and team building.”

Arush Bilakhia said that “this past month in the Boys Council, it helped me through a lot of things. It helped me to solve conflicts at home or anywhere.”

And Lance Panganiban said that “I’d say that this year has been very memorable, and the lessons I’ve learned will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Here are the students who graduated from the program:

  • Isaiah Aiyegbo
  • Dijion Archer
  • Jack Behrend
  • Nash Behrend
  • George Bey
  • Arush Bilakhia
  • Corey Charles
  • Connor Coords
  • Greyor Griffith
  • Jaden Lobo
  • Jamin McCall
  • Olusayo Osinubi
  • Elijah Ross
  • Lance Panganiban
  • Akili Roberson
  • Jordan Scott
  • Arjun Shah
  • Yasir Stocks
  • Machael Talerico
  • Malachi Charles
  • Zende Denis
  • Elijah Hughes
  • Axel Lucas Hernandez
  • Yusef li Muhammad
  • Carl Furtado

Here are some scenes from the event:

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