Thirty-six McMichael Middle School students got to select a new pair of shoes Wednesday at the Shoe Department, a Nacogdoches retailer located in the Marketplace II shopping area.
The Nacogdoches campus of Timber Creek Church is in the third year of partnering with an NISD school to reward students nominated by teachers as worthy of being singled out. While a number of the students might be recognized for accomplishments at school, McMichael assistant principal Heather Stidham said, others get to spend some time in the spotlight because they do things right.
“I ask teachers to nominate students who deserve to feel seen,” Stidham said. “Students are nominated by teachers for varying reasons, but it is based on the idea that they are great kids who might be overlooked.”
Stidham provides the students with a card that includes both the teacher’s name and why the student was nominated.
McMichael principal Gerald Fonzie attends services at Timber Creek. Marco Johnson, the church’s campus pastor at the Nacogdoches location, asked Fonzie about starting the program with the school.
“It’s just such a generous gesture by the church and it’s directed at our students, who while they might not receive the most attention, the way they go about things is so important because they do things the right way,” Fonzie said. “I’m grateful for the church doing this, and I’m also thrilled for these students to receive recognition for how they conduct themselves at school.”
On Wednesday, the students were bused from McMichael to the Shoe Department but didn’t fully know why they were at the store. Johnson then unveiled the surprise.
“We believe in our city, and anytime we hear of students, of people, in our community who have great character and they come highly recommended by their teachers, we see this and want to give back to them,” Johnson said.
Campus pastor Marco Johnson of Timber Creek Church
The selected students got to pick out a pair of shoes and socks, then go through the checkout process where Timber Creek covered the cost. McMichael staff members were on hand to provide help trying on shoes; others from Timber Creek joined Johnson at the store.
“At Timber Creek Church, we live to give our best,” Johnson said. “So when we see people in our community living to give their best, it makes us very proud and we want to reward that.”