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'He's kind of our superhero around here': Teacher helps start special summer school program

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By Marcella Robertson, WUSA-TV Washington, D.C.
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va.

Inside Falmouth Elementary School, everyone knows Mr. John Leonard. He's been teaching for 20 years. Teaching is something he says is just in his genes.

"I have several siblings who have been teachers, my father taught 35 years, my aunts, my uncles, cousins, it's just a whole family affair," said Leonard.

The kids think the world of him, and the teachers do too.

"He's kind of like a superhero around here," said Tiffany Keyser, who works for the YMCA and with Mr. Leonard.

[post_ads]Leonard helped start the Power Scholars program at Falmouth Elementary. He realized the original summer school program just wasn't providing enough for the parents or the students.

He wanted something with longer hours, more education, fun and an opportunity for the kids to eat as well.

With the help of the YMCA, Power Scholars was created. It is a five week program that allows the kids to easily transition from the summer back into a new school year.

Many of the students qualify for free and reduced lunches and many don't know exactly where their next meal will be coming from.

"It's the problems of poverty, the problems of maybe not getting enough to eat and not knowing where they're going to sleep that night," said Amy Ransom, a teacher at Falmouth Elementary.

As far as food is concerned, that's something many of the kids now don't have to worry about. With the help of the YMCA and the non-profit Food Security, the Power Scholars program is able to provide the students with two meals and several snacks during the day.

"We're running this program to let these kids know they mean something and that they can and will make it in life," said Leonard.

The program started with just 20 students and has now expanded to 80 kids who have full day services. The goal is to further expand the program to open it up to all Stafford County students.

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Offbeat - U.S. Daily News: 'He's kind of our superhero around here': Teacher helps start special summer school program
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