Leadership Day 2022

Achievement at all-time high during 9th annual Leadership Day
Posted on 04/12/2022

“There’s nothing more powerful than a kid with a dream,” said third grader Reagan Sparkman to help kick off the 9th annual Leadership Day themed ‘A million dreams’ on Friday, April 8, at Eugene Field.

A group of city officials, church leaders, business professionals, nonprofits, High School Student Council members and educators from across the region attended the student-led showcase, featuring speeches and musical performances highlighting service projects, as well as goals tracked and met throughout the school year.

A special touch at this year’s event, PBHS seniors who were a part of the elementary school’s first Leadership Day in 2014 spoke about how the Leader in Me initiative set the tone for their educational journeys. LIM, under which Eugene Field achieved Lighthouse Status six years ago, is based on Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Lauren Webb of the Class of 2022 attributed her ability to plan as well as her involvement in numerous extra-curricular activities to the program. “If you don’t put yourself out there and be comfortable and be who you are, then what are you doing,” asked classmate Brileigh Cates, who noted she is presently in the running to be valedictorian.

The son of Eugene Field Principal Jennifer Taylor, Chase, who was also in fourth grade during the inaugural showcase, delivered a video message since he was busy playing in a Mules Baseball tournament in Oklahoma. His favorite habit is to be proactive, he said, pointing out: “I’m just always optimistic, and I always try to have a positive attitude about things and just try to block out the negatives.”

Each student is assigned to a leadership team. Some of the projects completed lately, elementary presenters shared, included designing bandanas for Hearts for Rescue dogs and doubling their Math-A-Thon goal, bringing in over $2,200 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In addition to individual goals, students track school-wide objectives known as Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). Student Wayne Price explained how the second grade has worked toward meeting 280 goals so far. “Our school is full of goal-setters who enjoy celebrating successes,” he said.

Chase Henry, grade three, revealed how in the fall he learned he has Type 1 diabetes and used the habits to take control of his health by beginning with the end in mind, and practicing discretion. His friend, Jeremiah Gipson, is in charge of escorting him to the nurse’s office when his blood sugar gets low. “I care about Chase and don’t mind helping out,” Jeremiah said.

Before the guests toured classrooms, the staff surprised Jennifer Taylor by naming her the school’s Leader of the Year. Last month, Jennifer Taylor was recognized as one of 11 Missouri Distinguished Principal Honorees by the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals. Under her tutelage, eight educators have transitioned to administrative posts across the region, and Jennifer Taylor has additionally mentored three principals within the R-I school district.

Eugene Field was listed in October as No. 8 in U.S. News & World Report’sBest Elementary Schools’ out of over 1,000 ranked statewide based on Missouri Assessment Program scores in the context of socioeconomic demographics. Last year, the elementary was one of only two in the state, both in Poplar Bluff, to be named National ESEA distinguished schools for closing the achievement gap among student groups out of 1,300 Missouri Title 1 education institutions.

“Her achievements go far beyond our walls… She has changed me and all her staff for the better with her loving compassion for her school community,” reading interventionist Pam Heaton stated. “The influence of a great principal can never be erased.”


Cutline: The GLEEders close out Leadership Day with a rendition of “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack.

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