Freedom Middle School to honor African American role models

Franklin Special School District
Franklin Special School District operates eight schools within the city of Franklin. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)

Franklin Special School District operates eight schools within the city of Franklin. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)

As part of its ongoing Black History Month celebrations, Freedom Middle School will host the annual Monroe and Mary Booker Awards for Leadership and Service on Feb. 29 to honor local leaders in the African American community.

The awards ceremony is a decade-old tradition and is a collaborative effort of the children of Monroe and Mary Booker, lifelong Williamson County residents whose 12 children attended FSSD schools, according to an announcement from the Franklin Special School District.


Awards are given to a community member and a student who display a value of education and a desire to improve their communities. This year’s community award will be given to Damien Hodge, a graduate of Franklin High School who now works as the postsecondary education liaison at the Tennessee Department of Corrections and supervises higher education programs in prisons across the state, according to the district.

The student award winner—to be selected form a group of eighth-grade students who complete an application and an essay—will be announced during the ceremony, to be held at 1 p.m. at Freedom Middle School. Nominees for the award include Ayobami Abijo, Kennedy Johnson, James Onadeko, Asia Patton, Dominic Reed, Jasmene Taylor and Hailey Watkins.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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