Club of little gentlemen hope for big change

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. — One local teacher is dedicating a special club to teaching young boys how to become model men.

"A gentleman isn’t perfect," said academic coach at Fairview Elementary Jason Wright. "We’re not flawless, but we’re constantly working on being a better man."

In the case of the "Gentlemen of Fairview," that means working on being a better young man.

Every other week, Wright leads a group of 4th and 5th graders at the school as part of Gentlemen’s Club, nicknamed "Gent’s Club" for short. The goal? Teach high standards of gentlemanly behavior, contrary to what kids might come across on TV or social media.

"Kids are exposed to a lot of things out there," Wright said. "Whether it’s the Internet or social media. We want to redefine basically what a gentleman was…what better way than to bring a bunch of gentlemen together."

When the Gent’s Club meets, Wright instructs them on goal-setting, positive behavior, even bringing in outside speakers featuring gentlemen from all walks of life.

Fairview’s Gentlemen also tackle manners and formal greetings, how to dress and tie a tie.

Wright, who has led the group for five years at Fairview, as well as had similar clubs at prior schools, said the club’s popularity grows year after year.

But it’s watching the kids’ behavior when they’re outside of Gent’s Club that makes the educator most proud.

"I really like to see them interact in the hallway. I like to see their demeanor change with other people," Wright said. "I like to see them greet each other with a common handshake and say ‘Good Morning’ and do a lot of the common courtesies we used to do a while ago."

The hope? That this small club of gentlemen can create major change in the long run.

"We can change the culture in young men," Wright said. "They can aspire to be something positive, aspire to be a gentleman."

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