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Appreciation for Teachers Who Have the Tough Conversation

The students participating in Classroom Champions at the Imagine Hope Tolson School in Washington, D.C. are TRULY loving their friends at’s Ask, Listen, Learn program! We are still talking about the great time we had on our field trip to Capitol Hill for Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day. Students participated in some amazing activities with their friends and mentors. We loved dancing with our Classroom Champions friends, founder & CEO Steve Mesler, and our amazing athlete mentor April Holmes. They are constantly talking about the great relationships they have been able to build with the two of them. As a teacher I am thankful for all of the opportunities has provided to my students this year. I have seen the growth in their ability to communicate and be creative. They are not afraid to talk about serious issues like alcohol, social problems and peer pressure. Their curiosity and creativity in learning new information about healthy living has been eye opening. They are confident in their thoughts and beliefs on saying no to underage drinking.

This past week we were excited to receive the Ask, Listen, Learn game. They were so thrilled to know it was the same console that they were able to use at the Capitol Hill event a few weeks ago. All of the resources provided to our classroom including the Scholastic handouts with our Classroom Champions athlete mentor April Holmes, Tips for Teachers on warning signs of an alcohol problem, and the game have truly helped me begin the conversation about healthy living and saying no to underage drinking. They were inspired by the determination to become champions of Olympians Christian Taylor, April Holmes and Taylor Ritzel. Each one of my students knows what it takes and will become a champion in their community and the world! Students have become comfortable discussing being responsible at school, home, and the community. They know in order for the community to succeed they must get involved, represent your community well, and that they must give back to the community.

Without a doubt this has been my favorite year teaching in large part to the partnerships established with Classroom Champions and I love knowing that my commitment to their growth academically and socially is being appreciated by the students and their families through their own commitment. They know that the norm is to always do your best in all endeavors. I am not only just educating students, but I am also building strong citizens for the future. I want the memories that they have experienced this year to be lasting and strong. They know that they will face challenges in the future, but they will face them with grit and mettle. Thank you to all of the community partners, mentors, and friends who help make my experience as a teacher rewarding. I appreciate all the community partners who are helping to create the future generation of champions!

Classroom Champions CEO Steve Mesler takes a selfie with Jerome Clemons and his students at's annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on Capitol Hill on April 23, 2015.
Classroom Champions CEO Steve Mesler takes a selfie with Jerome Clemons and his students at's annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on Capitol Hill on April 23, 2015.


Jerome Clemons is a teacher at Imagine Hope Community Charter School. His class participates in Classroom Champions and DC SCORES. 

*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( or any member.*

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