The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 14, 2012

Mike Pound: Politeness not lost on some youngsters

By Mike Pound

— Our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, is nothing if not polite.

When she was younger, my wife and I made a point to make sure that Emma always said “please” and “thank you” and addressed adults as “sir” or “ma’am.” Somehow, those instructions stuck.

On Wednesday, I received a call from Kenzie McAlister. Kenzie is a junior at Diamond High School. She said she had been told to call me about “putting an ad in the paper” to promote the Diamond High School National Honor Society and student council Thanksgiving breakfast. I asked Kenzie if she is a member of the National Honor Society, and she said, “Yes, sir.”

During our conversation, I asked Kenzie if she needed me to include a certain piece of information about the breakfast in the paper, and she said, “Yes, please.”

“You must be the most polite person in your class,” I said.

“I don’t know. I hope I am,” Kenzie said.

I decided that I like Kenzie.

The National Honor Society and student council Thanksgiving breakfast is a free event for the community.

“The breakfast is for our community, to show our appreciation for their support,” Kenzie said.

I think that’s a neat deal. When you’re a kid, it’s easy to forget what the older folks around you do to help get you through school. It’s neat that kids in Diamond aren’t falling into that trap.

The free breakfast will run from 7 until 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will be served in the Diamond High School commons area. The menu will consist of biscuits and gravy, pancakes, sausage, bacon, juice and coffee. Kenzie said members of the National Honor Society and the student council will set up and prepare the breakfast with help from their families.

“We are all just trying to work together,” she said. “This is the first year we have put together a breakfast for our community.”

Kenzie told me that the students will need to arrive at the school between 5:30 and 6 a.m. to get ready. When I mentioned that Kenzie and the other students would be giving up a chance to sleep in on Thanksgiving morning, she chose to look on the bright side.

“We get out of school on Tuesday, so we will still have Wednesday and Friday,” Kenzie said.

“Yeah, but you’re missing a chance to sleep in on Thanksgiving,” I said.

“I know, but it will be worth it,” Kenzie said.

I’ve been to Diamond several times, and I’ve spoken to a number of school-age children, and every time I come away impressed. I’m sure, like all communities, Diamond probably has its share of not-so-good kids, but I haven’t met them.

It seems that the folks in charge of the Diamond school system place a value on the concept of giving back to the community. I think that’s a very good thing for kids to learn.

Kenzie told me that the National Honor Society is involved in a number of community service projects throughout the school year. I said I thought it was neat that Kenzie and the other members of the National Honor Society were being taught that while good grades are important, giving back to the community is even more important. I said that she and her classmates should be proud of what they are doing.

“Yes, sir,” Kenzie said. “Thank you.”

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.