Niagara Gazette

June 23, 2013

JACKIE DAVIS: Be motivated to make a difference

By Jackie Davis
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — “Like a lion’s roar, my life will soar to be the best that I can be;

Like an eagle’s call I will give my all to help my society;

Good teachers here have taught us how to learn in harmony;

The friends we’ve found, the best playground make this the place to be

The place to be

So I say hey! hooray!

It’s an excellent day

So I say hey! hooray!

The best in every way;

In almost any weather, we come together to study and to learn.

It’s the best around George Southard School is an awesome place to learn.”

The George Southard Elementary School Song

As we experience “graduation season” in our region, I am reminded of our very earliest graduation experiences. I had the honor of writing the words and music to that song, based on the ideals of the school’s Fifth Grade Student Council, in 1999.

Our eldest son Vincent was a council member, and as a young mother, I was overwhelmed by the realization that he would be completing the fifth grade, and starting middle school in the fall. I was motivated to leave a legacy gift to the school that had been such a blessing. It was amazing to see how eagerly these fifth-graders shared their thoughts on what made their school wonderful.

Jazz guitarist and producer, the late Tony Marrow voluntarily produced the instrumental tracks, and with the cooperation of music teacher Debbie Yeager, the chorus sang it at their spring concert. The entire fifth grade class sang their school song for their Moving Up Day ceremony at the end of the school year.

In 2000, we arranged for the song to be recorded by the chorus right at the school, (with our son Marcus as one of the studio vocalists in the final mix of the recording). The PTA held a contest for the cover design, and the recording was released to the entire school.

For more than a decade, the George Southard week began with the playing of the school song. Our “musical motivation” had made a lasting difference!

This year, I have been inspired by Lori Porter, a Lockport mother who has been motivated to make a difference in our community by launching the “Circle of Friends Summer Camp.”

Lori was concerned about the cumulative effect of summer learning loss in children in the elementary years. She also wanted a fun program that promoted friendships though diversity. Her youngest daughter Joy is a student in the Lockport school system, and had participated in summer programs that didn’t have an academic component. With math, reading, meals and field trips included, this program promises a lot of fun.

Lori holds a B.S. in accounting from the University of Buffalo, and a M. S. in counseling and human services from Canisius College in Buffalo. She is a 26-year veteran of the public school system, and has designed a program that is endorsed by Michelle Bradley, superintendent of Lockport schools.

The “Circle of Friends” is sure to make a difference in our area. Information is available on and by calling (716)-510-9864. An informal meet and greet will be held at the Lockport branch of the Chapel 1 East Avenue next Thursday June 27 at noon.

Truly, one person can be motivated to make a wonderful difference in our community!

Jackie Davis is an Inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with more than 20 years of television broadcast experience. You can contact her at