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GREAT Graduation

Hattiesburg, Miss. - The Hattiesburg Police Department held its annual GREAT graduation today at Seanger Theatre. Lt. Allen Murray explains what GREAT is all about.

Murray said, "it's the GREAT program, the gang, resistance, education, and training. Today we're having a graduation for the students who participated in the six week program. Throughout this program, they learned how to identify gangs of violence, they also learned how to utilize decision making skills to help avoid conflict, and also, they learned how to communicate effectively with other individuals and identify positive groups to hang out with."

Students from the elementary schools of Rowan, Woodley, Hawkins, Grace Christian, and Thames were in attendance to graduate and one speaker helped opened their eyes about life and how they can overcome any obstacle.

Motivational speaker, Dwight Owens said, "You have to motivate kids and the way you motivate kids is to do things that they enjoy doing. So I appreciate the Hattiesburg Police Department and allowing me to come on as a motivational speaker and encouraging kids in my own way and allowing the kids to be themselves, meaning, using the music that they love and sowing that seed that means just because you're from this culture doesn't mean that you still can't be great."

The kids learned a lot and the graduation was nice, but when competition came to see which school would take first place, each school was in it to win it and performed with excellence. I asked Lt. Murray if he knew how to sing and dance like the kids did in the competition.

Murray said "I cannot, but I enjoy seeing them do that. That's one of the deals, trying to see the trend and see what they're into doing, let them have a little bit of fun and let them know that we're not robots out there just to take everyone to jail. We're low key as well and they can always come in, contact with us, and they can trust us. We're there for them."



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