It did not take Mickie Hill long to find her volunteer niche in the Waxahachie community. Since relocating from Houston to Waxahachie 14 years ago, Hill has become a volunteer staple across Waxahachie ISD, even serving as a substitute teacher from time to time.

She and her husband, David, also annually participate in the Partners in Education program, Adopt-A-Class. The Hills had dedicated their efforts previously at Dunaway, Felty and Shackelford Elementary schools.

"This year David and I wanted to step it up and help the whole school," Hill expressed while she sat in the Crape Myrtle room at the Waxahachie Civic Center before a Rotary Club meeting.

At Shackelford, David helps with Dads at the Door, while Mickie has been prominent in mentoring the students. Mickie is quite familiar with the City of Waxahachie's "Hachie Heart" campaign and wanted to incorporate that same spirit at Shackelford.

"So many kids are acknowledged for their grades, which makes sense, it's school; or they are acknowledged for attendance, which is important, or their athletics," Mickie explained. "That is all good stuff. I wanted to acknowledge children that just go above and beyond when doing kind things for others."

Shackelford counselor Monica Taylor iterated the new group of students being recognized "are not always recognized. There are quiet leaders that don't always find their place in the 15 minutes of the spotlight but deserve it. They are really excellent kids."

And the recognitions don't start or stop with the students, as teachers who exemplify leadership and strength in their grade level are selected as the Teacher of the Month. That individual will then nominate a student who has exhibited compassion, kindness with a giving attitude.

Mickie said she has sat down with a variety of students from first through fifth-grade, an equal amount of boys and girls, and even a student with developmental disabilities throughout this school year.

Mickie has also mentored two at-risk students throughout the year every other Tuesday, always bringing a lunch and dedicating at least one hour to the two kids. The one-on-one attention has allowed them to build conversation skills, confidence and instilled kindness and friendliness.

Each student who is granted the monthly honor is provided with a lunch of their choosing, along with a small gift package that includes a stress ball in the shape of a heart that bears the "Hachie Heart" logo.

"Each month is better than the last one," Mickie expressed. "[The students] can't get any better or sweeter."

Mickie makes sure to keep the lunch-time discussions about family, school and subjects positive and that that children of their age strongly relate to. She noted the most common lunches come from Whataburger and Chick-fil-A; however, there was a request that surprised Mickie — fried okra. That student was first-grader, Eason Green.

He admitted that he did not hear about the program until he won.

"We talked about the prizes that I got and that she knows my great-grandmother," Green said about the lunch. "She thought she was my grandmother."

Green explained his moral character derives from his grandparent's beliefs and discussions about God and Jesus.

Green also noted a critical reason to be kind is "because you treat others the way you want to be treated and if you don't then they won't like to be your friend and play with you."

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450