HAND IT ON: Principal Lamont Cole

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - I've had the privilege of visiting many schools – elementary, middle, and high. And I must say, I do not remember a time when I observed a principal respected and love as much as Mr. Lamont Cole at the Community School for Apprenticeship Learning, or C-SAL Middle for short.

WAFB received a nomination from the mother of Keiresten Dunn, a 7th grader at C-SAL, for Principal Cole. Keisha Dunn explained in her nomination letter how Mr. Cole was sincerely and genuinely vested in each and every student's success, not only in school, but in life.

"During the week of LEAP testing," Keisha wrote, "Mr. Cole wrote a handwritten note to every single one of some 300 students, encouraging them to exceed and do their best on this test. Then he placed the notes on every student's desk."

In my follow-up conversation with Keisha about Mr. Cole, she explained Mr. Cole does things every single day to nurture and grow his students, like the dress code every Monday. "On Mondays, they dress up. The girls dress up in a skirt, dress shirt. Guys come with their blazer, their shirt, and tie. And on that particular day, it's all about the community, how to act in public, how to interact with one another, setting goals, and all that he wants to help them achieve as they leave middle school to high school and into the world," Keisha said.

Mr. Cole receives praise not just from parents and students, but from teachers too.

Teachers describe Mr. Cole as a "hands on" principal that not only has the needs of the students in mind, but is also an extremely supportive manager and leader for the staff as well; extremely nurturing.

So we were invited to C-SAL on the final day of classes for the 2017-18 school year. The students were instructed to gather in the courtyard of the school for Mr. Cole's big surprise. We waited. And waited. And waited! Finally, an unsuspecting Mr. Cole was escorted to the courtyard, where Keisha presented Mr. Cole with $300.

"I just want to say thank you for always encouraging the kids," Keisha began, "and for always going the extra, going above and beyond. This $300 is a token of appreciation from the kids. We love you."

The courtyard erupted in applause and chants of "Mr. Cole! Mr. Cole! Mr. Cole!" rang out.

Promising not to cry on camera, a choked up Mr. Cole finally muttered, "Thank you. Thank all of you wonderful students. It is my life's joy to work with you. And ah, I appreciate it. Now, ah... oh wow. I don't know what I'm supposed to do now."

How about enjoy a wonderful and relaxing summer! Principal Lamont Cole, you certainly deserve it!

To nominate someone for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your contact information, especially your phone number.

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