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Irmo Middle School English teacher receives BlueCross® BlueShield® Live Fearless® grant

COLUMBIA, SC – Irmo Middle School English teacher Robert McCloy is inspiring his students to Live Fearless®. When he heard about the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina’s Live Fearless campaign inviting teachers across the state to enter a contest describing how they would bring the concept to life in their classrooms, he had the perfect idea. After seeing the documentary “Finding the Gold Within,” he knew the African drums and shakers used in the film would resonate with his students and benefit them in class.

With over 100 entries, BlueCross BlueShield selected Mr. McCloy as one of the three winners. He received a $950 grant towards purchasing musical instruments for his classroom. McCloy and his students excitedly received the check during class. He thanked BlueCross BlueShield saying, “I’m thrilled! I thought the idea was pretty good and I’m glad you guys did too.”

McCloy will incorporate drumming and music into writing and reading during his classes. A drumming circle creates a sense of safety, security, and community for students. The drumming circles will be used during journaling activities. McCloy hopes this will be helpful for students to express their writing and allow them to share their unique voices. The experience will help students gain confidence in their reading, writing, and speaking skills, capturing the heart of the Live Fearless campaign.

McCloy explained, “I want the students to realize how important their voices are. And, that their voices count and their experience matters. They should be proud of themselves, they are very valuable people.”

The Live Fearless® campaign showcases what has motivated and inspired individuals around the state. “We initiated this campaign last year to encourage and illustrate how South Carolinians ‘live fearless’ every day by breaking new ground, overcoming adversity, and expanding comfort zones,” said BlueCross President Scott Graves. “This particular challenge focused on the wonderful work of teachers who are doing some amazing things in the classroom.”

Irmo Middle School Principal Robert Jackson looked forward to using drumming circles as an innovative way to engage students. He said, “It’s an absolute honor to have one of my staff members receive this type of award. One of the things that is unique about Irmo Middle School is that our teachers are immersed in work that’s relevant to kids, that has meaning, that allows them to be able to voice their learning in a very public fashion. And Mr. McCloy is one of those teachers that really reaches the depth of students’ needs and brings that out in a very, very productive way that gets results. It’s an honor, a true honor.”

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