Smart. Caring. Energetic. Enthusiastic. These are just a few of the words used to describe 7-year-old Jacob Elrod of Martinez.
"Jacob's character makes him stand out because he is a caring student who is always willing to help," said Sherry McKie, Jacob's second - grade teacher at Martinez Elementary School.
When asked how he felt about all of the nice things his teacher said about him, the son of Geoff and Wendy Elrod confidently said, "I agree!"
It is Jacob's enthusiasm and energy that make him stand out. If others need help, Jacob rises to the occasion. If a fellow pupil is being chastised by others, those who know him say Jacob steps forward to be the one to defuse the tension and make things right again.
"He seems to go out of his way to help other kids feel welcome, and he's sensitive to other people's needs," his mother said . "Every day he comes home, there are new names of kids he's made friends with."
Jacob, the grandson of Jack and Judy Schlegel of Birmingham, Ala., and George and Jan Elrod of Gadsden, Ala., grew up in the South, having been born in Alabama. He has moved around several times since then, having lived elsewhere in Georgia, in Florida and recently moving to Martinez.
"I've only lived here for about six months," he said. "But I already have a lot of friends, and I'm getting used to it."
"He just really has a way of making friends wherever he is," his mother said.
Perhaps it is Jacob's willingness to help friends understand a math concept or grasp a science theory that lends itself to his making friends rather quickly.
"Mostly I help Zack and Trevor," Jacob said of two of his classmates. "Usually they don't get the instructions, and I usually do the first one for them, if it's not already done, and then watch them do the rest."
"He is always willing to be a peer tutor for those who don't understand something," Jacob's mother said. "He explains things to them in kid terminology."
Jacob also enjoys reading and often takes the stories back to his class.
"I really like to read," he said. "Sometimes I'm into chapter books, and sometimes I like to read regular books."
But what Jacob most enjoys is making new friends.
"Then you have more people to play with and more people that like you," he said.
Make Kids Count is a yearlong project dedicated to highlighting the achievements of children in our area. To suggest a pupil for a Make Kids Count profile, send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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