LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) -One school counselor at Meadow Glen Middle School in Lexington District 1 is helping her students navigate through school with a program called GPS.
Dominque Sawyer is our latest community builder, in partnership with Mungo Homes, and is being hailed as a hero by her students.
Eighth-grader Sydney Smith choked up after realizing that this was her last year with her school counselor and her friends who are also a part of G-P-S, which stands for grace, peace, and sisterhood.
"I just feel like I’m gonna miss Ms. Sawyer because GPS really has helped me through middle school and it has taught me a lot. It has made me a better person,” Smith said.
On a recent trip to New York City, these girls showcased their girl power.
“We were able to go to the United Nations International Day of the Girl where our girls served as delegates for South Carolina. They were able to share the voice of a black girl in South Carolina and they wrote a poem that was there for the whole world to see. That was a really awesome experience to realize the work we are doing here in Lexington has been amplified to a national and international level," Sawyer said.
The girls in the group GPS make up about 5% of the population at Meadow Glen Middle School in Lexington, out of more than 1000 students. Group meetings are where they can share their ups and downs allowed students like Smith to feel safe, seen and supported.
“One challenge is just being seen different, and GPS has done a good job of trying. We are seen different, like we are not normal and that’s not true, we are just like everyone else, " Smith said.
Sawyer understood that students are influenced by social media and want to be accepted. She says that students not only want to be able to understand their identities but also want to understand their feelings as well.
"When you compound that with being in an environment where there are not very many people who look like you that brings in cultural differences where people might not understand why you do things the way you do them, that is why GPS was created,” Sawyer explained.
While building up their confidence and developing their character to help increase personal and cultural awareness Sawyer got a surprise from the Michael J. Mungo Foundation and was named the recent Community Builder.
Smith was the happiest because she nominated Ms. Sawyer through the help of her mom.
“I learned a lot from Ms. Sawyer and she deserves to be recognized because she’s done so much for us,” Smith said.
Sawyer plans on donating her $1000 to the A’ja Wilson Foundation because she believes it changes the culture by overcoming the stigma of Dyslexia and strives to put an end to bullying.
If you have a community builder that you would like to nominate, visit our website at www.wistv.com/community/community-builder/.