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FHHS student first recipient of John H. Crowder Service Award

The late John H. Crowder left a legacy of being a champion of children, a man who dedicated 31 years of his life to the service of the public schools.

Crowder, the first African-American to serve on the Monroe City Schools board, was the longest serving Board of Education member in the history of the school system in Union County.

He served not only on the Monroe City Schools Board, but had also served on the Union County Public Schools Board of Education since the inception of the school system in 1993.

Following his death on March 9 of this year, the Board of Education decided to name a service award after Crowder recognizing students who carry on the legacy of service.

Criteria for winning the John H. Crowder Service Award are that students must be not only academically successful, but also have an established history of community service in more than one area or with more than one organization.

The first John H. Crowder Service Award was presented Tuesday (Sept. 2, 2014) to Jesse “J.B.” Helms, a 17-year-old senior at Forest Hills High School, who has dedicated his life to serving others.

When introducing him, Board of Education member Christina Helms (no relation) said, “Jesse is a young man who embodies what this service award is all about. He even refers to himself as having a ‘servant heart’.”

Jesse is the son of two teachers. His mother is Donna Helms, the media coordinator at Piedmont High School. His father is Kevin Helms, who teaches history at Forest Hills High School, where Jesse is a student.

His principal Dr. Kevin Plue said that Jesse, or J.B. as he is called at school, is a well-rounded student who is seeking an appointment to the United States Naval Academy or West Point after high school as he desires to serve his country.

He is active in student council, president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, captain of the football and the wrestling teams, a member of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club.

Jesse’s volunteer service goes outside the high school setting. He also has volunteered with special needs children in a horse therapy group, and was the countywide liaison between UCPS and Crisis Assistance Ministries during a recent fund-raiser.

Board member Helms, who presented the award to Jesse during Tuesday night’s meeting, was especially moved when she heard that Jesse had won the award as he had worked on her farm over the summer.

"I actually screamed with excitement and my eyes filled with tears," she said. "I am very proud that the BOE is moving forward with this award and incredibly proud of Jesse."

Next month, the board will recognize a student from the Piedmont Cluster for the second John H. Crowder Service Award.

--Written by UCPS Communications Coordinator Deb Coates Bledsoe. Video by UCPS Visual Communications Coordinator Arthur Rogers.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe
Posted: Sep 02, 2014 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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