Eighteen young men walked across the stage tonight at the Saenger Theatre as the fourth graduating class of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Blazer Academy.
The academy has been hosted for the last six weeks by Sherriff Chip Simmons and his leadership team. Every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., these young men (ages 13 -15) have been immersed in an environment that has provided mentoring and instruction on many topics such as courtesy, responsibility, empowerment, and respect.
Each two-hour session during the past weeks has included role-playing scenarios designed to develop the interpersonal skills and confidence-building necessary for them to become the leaders of tomorrow.
The Sheriff’s Blazer Academy provided dinner each night, transportation if needed, and dress attire fitted to each student. Tonight, the students were each given a pocket watch from Bere’s Jewelers and treated to a fine dining experience at Global Grill in Downtown Pensacola as part of their graduation ceremonies.
The Sheriff’s Blazer Academy accepts up to 25 students per academy and several of the academies are hosted each year.
“We are intentional in keeping the academy classes to a smaller size as we want to make sure that each of these young men has the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring and instruction with us,” Sheriff Simmons said.
“We are teaching things as simple as how to shake another man’s hand, how to raise a toast, where to place a napkin while dining, to how to be respectful when on a date, how to determine your 5-year goals, and learn the importance of and begin to practice financial planning.”