Neil Armstrong Elementary School in Port Charlotte proudly proclaims that they were the 17th school in the world to obtain "Leader in Me" certification in 2011, and I wanted to know more.

On November 22, the school held a "Friendsgiving" Day in which the leadership potential of many students was actively on display. I left feeling uplifted and optimistic about the opportunities open to the students and the skills they were developing. I believe these feelings were shared by the parents and invited V.I.P. guests.

Each year the classroom teacher nominates two students per class as leaders. These students maintain this designation for the length of their stay at the school. They are chosen after having demonstrated leadership skills that align with Franklin Covey's 7 Habits.

The benefits of being a Lighthouse School are not limited to these select students. The program is focused on helping all students set personal and academic goals, take initiative, take responsibility for personal actions, and participate in service-learning. All students are involved with helping Neil Armstrong become an "A" school by contributing to their W.A.G. (Wildly Important Goals), two of which have a reading focus.

One student leader in the 5th grade mentioned that she noticed a student in kindergarten struggling with reading, so she now dedicates time every day to mentor her little friend, noting that there has been a steady improvement.

The Friendship Day began by each visitor receiving a warm welcome from a cohort of student leaders eager to answer any questions.

Student leaders turned outward in many ways. Individual students from grade 1–5 presented specific personal characteristics that supported their leadership role, including defining strength, empathy, or explaining how being a class clown supported their leadership aspirations.

Every student in every classroom treated the visiting parents and V.I.P.'s to an aspect of the "7 Habits." The highlight for me was connecting with 3rd-grade students who explained how they plan to spread kindness by synergizing their aspirations with community needs. They asked how we, as visitors, contributed an act of kindness on that day. They also provided us with a list of possible acts of kindness for consideration.

To close the circle, the teacher asked that we email her with our act of kindness so that the ripple effect of the student's work would strengthen and validate their efforts. The students rekindled in me a desire to be more attuned to the everyday needs of those around me, and I left with a smile on my face.

Thank you, Neil Armstrong students for leading the way!

Comments (1)

  • Stacy Householder

    Stacy Householder

    07 December 2019 at 16:33 | #

    Remember you are only limited by what you can't imagine. Anything is possible when you let your imagination run wild!


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