By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN-- Last year, Carl "C.J." Jordan III received 23 referrals for discipline to the principal's office at Austintown Middle School.
This year, C.J., 14, hasn't received any.
Last year, C.J., who was then a seventh-grader, received mostly D's and F's in his classes.
This year, he has received A's and B's.
Last year, C.J. spent as much time in the hall as he did in class.
This year, he not only goes to class, but he also volunteers in the school nurse's clinic.
What a difference a year makes.
Wins award: On Thursday, C.J. will be honored as the most-improved pupil during the middle school's annual eighth-grade awards ceremony. He attributed the award to the support he has received from his family and the staff and teachers at AMS.
"Everybody was saying that I could do it," C.J. said.
John Hudson, a guidance counselor at AMS, added, "It was a team effort."
"To me, this is a perfect example of how it works when we're all on the same page," he said.
Bonded: C.J.'s mother, Joanne Jordan, said she feels her son bonded with Hudson and AMS Principal Dan Bokesch this year. She said that before this year, C.J. was disruptive in school and was often thrown out of class.
C.J., meanwhile, said he just "didn't care."
Then he met Hudson, who he said helped him with his homework and his problems. Joanne added that at the same time, Bokesch made an effort to treat C.J. as an individual.
"We have developed a mutual respect," Bokesch said. "Carl was always a good kid; he just wasn't a good student."
Now, Joanne said, C.J. is "like a totally different child."
"He cares. He knows he could be somebody now," she said.
C.J. will attend Fitch High School next year. He said he hopes to become a firefighter.