not hard to tell when Wednesday rolls around in Karin Jones'
classroom at Red Bluff Elementary. The smiles on the childrens'
faces cannot hide that it is a special day.
It is the
day "Mr. Clark" comes to visit.
Clark pokes his head in the classroom, he is quickly greeted
with hugs and handshakes from students. Then, he sits down with
two or three students at a time and begins to lead them in
either a math or reading lesson. Jones says, "the time he spends
one-on-one with them makes a big difference in their school work
and their lives."
positive impact that Clark has made on Red Bluff students over
the past eight years has earned him "hero" status - as one of
the State Board of Education's Heroes for Children. Clark will
be honored at a special ceremony on Sept. 19 in Austin.
that Mr. Clark works with are touched in numerous ways by his
kindness," Jones said. "He provides the small group interaction
that so many students in schools today need and crave. He is
always willing to help any child with any skill. He is so
positive and reassuring that it helps the students to excel and
with students in first through third grades in math and reading.
The retired Brown and Root foreman said he has always enjoyed
those two subjects and feels that the basic skills learned in
these subjects are important for lifelong success.
forget what you learned in math and reading in elementary
school," Clark said. "I enjoy helping them and seeing their
skills develop. It is such a joy to see a child's face light up
when they master a concept in math or reading that had been
difficult for them before. I really love seeing them as they
grow in confidence."
And many of
the students that Clark has mentored do not hesitate in showing
their pride of their achievements.
summer, I went to my barber shop to get my hair cut and there
was a former student that I tutored and his parents," he said.
"The boy came over and grabbed my hand and took me to his
parents. He told them that he wanted me to meet his parents and
tell them how much I helped him in school. It was at that moment
that I realized how much helping these kids means to them and
how rewarding it is for me."
Principal Kathy McElman describes Clark as "an important member
of our school family."
relationship he builds with the students motivates them to work
hard in the classroom," she said. "He makes them feel special
and serves as a positive role model for them. The children and
our school staff look forward to his visits every Wednesday and
cherishes his relationships with the students and the faculty,
and says, "as long as I am able, I will continue to help these
children in any way I can."