MHS principal: ‘We ARE Montevallo’
Published 3:12 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013
By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO – Montevallo High School’s new principal Wesley Hester often uses visuals to stimulate his students’ thinking. As an example, he holds up a picture of an iceberg for community members to see at the Montevallo Chamber Luncheon Sept 18.
“You can generate some good conversation with a picture of an iceberg,” Hester said. “It doesn’t just necessarily represent a big chunk of ice in water. It represents what we like to talk about, which is character.
“Generally 10 percent of the iceberg is above water, and 90 percent is below. The 10 percent is your personality, it’s your appearance, it’s who you are, it’s what people see. The 90 percent, of course, is your character. It’s what people don’t see.”
For Hester, the emphasis on character is part of the broader theme of leadership that he has been trying to emphasize at MHS since becoming principal just two months ago. According to Hester, developing leadership in all members of the school, students and staff alike, is important because it allows the school’s leadership potential to be exploited.
“Raise the roof is what I refer to as our leadership potential,” Hester said. “If you look at a school leader or any leader in any organization, if you rely on that one leader, your potential for progress and success (goes only) as far as the ability of the leader.”
By empowering students and staff, Hester said the potential of the school increases.
“Raise the roof,” he said.
One way Hester has empowered students is by eating breakfast with the football team’s new “leadership council” on Friday mornings.
“Student athletes have so much influence and so much leverage among other students in the school,” he said.
He is also encouraging all students to be involved in at least one student organization and emphasizing the importance of service learning and learning real-world skills in the classroom.
The school is also working on increasing pride, which has been fueled by responses Hester received after giving students and staff surveys at the beginning of the year.
In another visual, he provided chamber members with wristbands that read, “We ARE Montevallo,” with “are” underlined and in capital letters.
“The ‘are’ – underlined, capital – is emphasized because … sometimes our kids want to say, ’A small community, a small town, we’re just Montevallo. What can we do?’”
Hester said that resonated with him because, like his students, he also comes from a small town. He grew up in Russellville.
“I said, ‘No, we ARE Montevallo. We have the same opportunities and the same ability as any other school and any other community in the state of Alabama. You just have to put forth the effort,” he said.