This Is Us

Sixth annual Leadership Day: This Is Us
Posted on 04/02/2019
Chase Brooks

Eugene Field presented a student-led program to community leaders and area educators on Friday, March 22, displaying how the leadership skills taught at the elementary school go above and beyond Missouri Learning Standards.

The sixth annual Leadership Day celebrated the theme, “This is us,” as students demonstrated their various roles under The Leader in Me program. Based on Dr. Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Eugene Field has been following the initiative for several years, ultimately achieving lighthouse status in 2016. 

“We truly look as this as the opportunity for our students to become stars,” commented Jennifer Taylor, elementary school principal. 

During the program, featuring a series of speeches and songs, students revealed how the seven habits such as ‘begin with the end in mind’ and ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’ not only shape every school day, but have overflowed into their personal lives too. 

After explaining how individual classrooms create mission statements, third grader Harmony Cornett shared that her family was inspired to similarly define their purpose at home. 

“Laughter is the best sound that could ever fill our house,” the statement read in part. “Supporting dreams and hopes is always encouraged.” 

Classmate Abbie Spain won Eugene Field’s third grade spelling bee and went on to compete against top students at the other elementary schools live on Fox Radio Network in February. The girl prepared, she said, by writing out all the words on the spelling list 10 times each. Abbie also set a Math-A-Thon goal of raising $200 for St. Jude and exceeded it by over $150. As a reward, she recently was granted the opportunity to visit the children’s research hospital in Memphis. 

“This was very important to me because I want to be a pediatric nurse when I grow up,” Abbie said. “I may even want to work at St. Jude some day!” 

The celebration concluded with a presentation of the annual Leader of the Year award to Memorial Baptist Church for maintaining a presence on the Eugene Field Bright Futures site council. The congregation provided teachers winter coats for Christmas as well as fabricated sound panels for the gymnasium to improve the acoustics during Leadership Day and other activities. 

The leadership principles not only apply to students, but rub off on the staff as well. Eugene Field owns a track record of having personnel advance their careers as school administrators, including former teacher Heather Willcut, who was in attendance. In 2017, Willcut became the director of federal programs at Doniphan and agreed that the seven habits played a large part in her promotion. 

Jessica Thurston, who was named principal of the Kindergarten Center this school year, spent six years teaching at Eugene Field. While The Leader in Me program is in the process of adapting its curriculum for the early childhood education grade level, Thurston still escorted a team to the event to obtain professional development. 

“I took my teachers to Leadership Day so they could observe assessment capable learners and goal setting for our students,” Thurston said. “Eugene Field does an amazing job of motivating and empowering their students.” 

A few other area schools made reservations to explore program implementation in their districts. Jennifer Filer, a middle school counselor at Woodland, commented that one day the Eugene Field graduates will be sitting in the audience as community leaders enjoying a Leadership Day program created by the next generation of students. 

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Cutline: Chase Brooks of the second grade introduces the final performance of the GLEEders during Leadership Day.

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