Waterville hosts Leadership Day

Kindergarten students Aliceson Richerson and Jeremiah Standfield show their project during Waterville School’s Leadership and Learning Day on March 28. (Empire Press photo/James Robinson)


By James Robinson
Empire Press Correspondent

Waterville School hosted its annual District Leadership and Learning Day on March 28. The event was well-attended by students, staff, families, friends and the community. This year’s theme was “Above and Beyond.”

Leadership and Learning Day evolved from the school district becoming involved in the “Leader in Me” program in 2011.

Staff had asked, “How can we engage the un-engaged students in our school?”

The “Leader in Me” program was an empowering approach to increase effectiveness in all aspects of a person’s life.

The administrative leadership saw the value of the process and how it could be used as the foundation for greatness and transformation within the district, according to the school’s website. In 2013, the district received a grant to fully implement the process. The first Leadership and Learning Day was held in May of that year.

The “Leader In Me” process is based on Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Covey’s messages are about each person/student having a good ethical character, setting goals and being effective.

In applying these habits, students learn to be a responsible person; to plan ahead and set goals; to spend time on things that are most important; to balance courage to achieve what they want with consideration for what others want; to listen to other people’s ideas and feelings; to value other people’s strengths and learn from them; and to take care of their bodies by eating right, exercising and getting sleep.

The event celebrated the unique strengths of each student and showcased how the school meets its mission of “Cultivating Leaders Who T.H.R.I.V.E.” — Trust, Honor, Respect, Integrity, Valor, Evolving and Excellence — and also emphasized its vision to “Leave a Legacy.”

The day began with an opening ceremony in the school gymnasium with various student groups and student councils from the grade school and the high school reporting on their activities. The goal was to have every student involved in the ceremony — either on stage or behind the scenes.

School groups presenting included the B.A.D.D. Club (Breaking Addictive and Destructive Decisions), DECA Club (preparing students to be business leaders and entrepreneurs), Young Life (Christian youth organization), Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run, the Student Light House Program, and members of the girls basketball team. There were also musical performances.

One special highlight for the students took place when elementary school Principal Tayn Kendrick had his head shaved as a result of a reading challenge. The elementary students surpassed his challenge for them to reach 42,000 minutes.

Following the opening ceremony, the rest of the day was spent with guests visiting the elementary school and high school classrooms and hallways for the Marketplace portion of the event. Students had on display their personal leadership projects. Each student chose something that they were passionate about for their project — a hobby, a sport or other activity or interest. They discussed their work, and answered questions from the public. Faculty and staff worked with the students to help them prepare.

There were many interesting and informative presentations and exhibits during the day that showed the accomplishments of Waterville’s students.