Students take the lead

OMHS junior Sarah Kathryn Hicks helps an OMES student paint on Jan. 8. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

OMHS junior Sarah Kathryn Hicks helps an OMES student paint on Jan. 8. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

Along with the new year came a new coverage area for me at the Shelby County Reporter. After covering Pelham, Helena and Indian Springs for my first 10 months on the job, I will now be covering the U.S. 280 area, including Hoover, North Shelby, Mt Laurel, Chelsea, Harpersville and Westover.

In just the first few weeks of covering this new area, I have had the opportunity to visit several schools, and I’ve been so impressed by the leadership the students have displayed.

On Jan. 8, I stopped by Oak Mountain Elementary School to check out an art project. When I got to the school, I saw students from Oak Mountain High School working hand-in-hand with elementary school students to create canvases to decorate the walls of the OMES building.

The older students took the lead and became the teachers for the day, OMHS art teacher Ashley Lemley told me.

“We’re showing them what to do, but giving them the ropes,” OMHS junior Sarah Kathryn Hicks told me. “They’re so cute and sweet, and they look up to you.”

Leadership was also evident at Forest Oaks Elementary School. Principal Dr. Resia Brooks gave me a tour of the school on Jan. 15 and explained the theme of Forest Oaks is “be awesome today.”

This theme is clearly visible in students’ behavior. As I followed Brooks around the schools, I saw students giving their all in physical education, collaborating in art and attentively listening to a classmate read aloud.

Developing this respect, character and leadership is built into the curriculum and everyday life at Forest Oaks, Brooks said. Students begin each day by reciting the Forest Oaks Creed, which opens with the words, “I am a smart, talented and valuable person.”

This message builds a foundation of confidence and fosters leadership in each student at Forest Oaks, and it is a message they can carry with them.

“If you work hard and are kind, amazing things will happen,” Brooks tells her students each day. “That’s my message to them.”