Students share at Leadership Day

The Junior-Senior High School panel answers questions at Leadership Day. Not shown is Taylor Schoenberg.  (Joel Harding photo)


By Joel Harding

On Wednesday, May 21, students and teachers described the learning opportunities and achievements of Waterville School to the community and other guests. Leadership Day was a day of learning for all as the students shared what they had done over this year and hoped to accomplish in the future. The day began in an opening ceremony in which the students presented thoughts and ideas about Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and how those are used in the learning process. The presentation was followed by panels of elementary school students, on the one hand, and junior-senior high school students on the other, answering questions from guests. During the lunch hour, visitors had a chance to hear directly from students on how they collect data on their own learning and use that information to set goals for higher achievement. There was an Elementary Town Hall meeting and the Compass Day send-off for seniors in the afternoon. Throughout the day, there were students in the commons describing both curricular and co-curricular programs in which they are interested and involved. Waterville School Superintendent Cathi Nelson said the following day to the staff, “I have so much pride in my heart today! Yesterday was amazing for our kids and for our guests!”

Perhaps the most touching of the presentations in the opening ceremony were the kindergarten, first and second-graders carrying signs of each letter in the alphabet and telling what they meant. There were several videos produced by and starring Waterville students. The high school choir sang “Single Voice, Solitary Flame.”

A new addition to the opening ceremony included students talking about Habit 8, “Understanding Yourself,” and how they are and will use the habit to achieve their goals. Connor Poppie talked about his efforts in art. Harlie Zones shared about gymnastics. Rylann Lewis described being the top Girl Scout cookie-seller. Wyatt Mires had the opportunity to study for a semester in Australia and hopes to include further study abroad in his college education. Elaina Thomsen described the path to a state championship in track and how she hopes to repeat. Robert Parcells described his path to what he hopes will be a state track championship. Chris Dronen talked about the importance of banjo playing in his life and where he hopes it will take him. Alex Ludeman described how car racing has allowed him great experiences, one of which was to lead the nation in his category. Bryan Day talked about voice-overs for video in which he is already earning money. Austin Halvorson described his ice skating and his hopes to be an Olympian in that event. Lexi Deishl and Brooke Willms spoke about showing pigs for 4-H and the valuable experience gained.

The elementary and secondary school panels were a high point for guests and visitors. In those forums, adults were able to interact directly with students, asking questions about what and how they were learning. Many adults remarked at the informed and excited responses to their questions by both the younger and older students.

Another high point of the event was the Marketplace, held in the Commons. There were at numerous programs with students explaining their involvement. Some of the student programs were developed in elementary flex time. One of these was a lemonade fundraiser in which third grade students are trying to earn $285 to accompany the fourth- graders on an extended field trip. They are already within sight of their goal. The skate park promoters were there. One booth, with older students present, that grabbed attention was Friends of Rachel. Students shared how they have worked to promote kindness and compassion in response to the Rachel’s Challenge program that was presented in February. A curricular program that was a highlight was the Time Travel Journals produced in Mrs. Hinderer’s eighth-grade history class. Students were asked to take an imaginary trip back to earlier times and describe what they had learned. Another booth that caught the attention of guests was the demonstration of pottery making at the potter’s wheels just outside the Multipurpose room. Hanna Clements and Diana Davila were the demonstrators. Additionally, there were examples of student art throughout the school and there were tours of those exhibits. Student musicians also performed in the Commons as they do every morning before school.

There were many other interesting and informative presentations and exhibits during the day. The full program at the school was presented. It was a large undertaking by the staff and students. However, it truly showed the accomplishments of those involved.