More than 300 parents attend first Leadership Day at EHES

Elvin Hill Elementary fourth-grader Kaylee Veazey demonstrates how a volcano erupts as she tells parent visitors about her research on the destruction of Pompeii at the school's first Leadership Day on May 6. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

Elvin Hill Elementary fourth-grader Kaylee Veazey demonstrates how a volcano erupts as she tells parent visitors about her research on the destruction of Pompeii at the school’s first Leadership Day on May 6. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The binder third-grader Addison “Addy” Grigsby showed to parent visitors at Elvin Hill Elementary School’s Leadership Day on May 6 revealed an organized summary of her academic goals and achievements throughout the school year.

“It makes me feel like I have more things I can do, and it’s helping me learn a lot,” Grigsby said.

Like other students at EHES, Grigsby is tracking her progress through The Leader in Me, program designed to help schools implement a leadership model based on characteristics including accountability, problem solving, adaptability, communication, initiative and self-direction, creativity and cross-cultural skills.

A student shows visitors her leadership notebook at Elvin Hill Elementary School's Leadership Day. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

A student shows visitors her leadership notebook at Elvin Hill Elementary School’s Leadership Day. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

The program is based on Stephen R. Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” a “synthesis of universal, timeless principles of personal and interpersonal effectiveness, such as responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration and renewal, which are secular in nature and common to all people and cultures,” according to Theleaderinme.org.

“You’re trying to build a model citizen,” Reading Coach Amy Rooker said. “When we really talk to them about it and set goals, they really respond.”

Leadership Day gave students in kindergarten through fifth grade an opportunity to talk to parents about their academic growth and goals, and to show them projects they have been researching and completing over the course of several months.

“We wanted parents to experience some of the things Leader in Me is really about,” Rooker said.

More than 300 parents attended the school’s first-ever Leadership Day and completed a survey the school will use to prepare for next year, she said. “It was much more than we anticipated for the tours.”

Fourth and fifth grade gifted students in GRC teacher Martha Bentley’s class talked to visitors one-on-one about topics they were interested in researching, from electricity to photography to anatomy and more.

Fifth-graders Victoria Farish and Tori Evans researched bullying and walked visitors through a PowerPoint presentation detailing their findings.

Farish and Evans said they hope to complete a short movie about bullying and show it to the entire school.

Fourth-grader Kaylee Veazey chose to study about the destruction of the Roman city of Pompeii after Mount Vesuvius erupted, blanketing several nearby cities with molten debris and poisonous vapors.

Veazey’s display included a volcano she constructed that erupted when she filled it with vinegar and baking soda.

“I tried to make it as realistic as possible,” Veazey said of the volcano.

Bentley said Leadership Day was less about an end product and more focused on what skills students have developed thus far.

“It’s a day for them to practice leadership skills that we’re trying to develop,” Bentley said. “It’s not a performance; it’s a day of developing those skills. This is just their opportunity to synthesize it and share what they’ve learned.”

An assembly on the afternoon of May 6 with community leaders capped off this year’s Leadership Day.

“We have been blown away by the turnout,” Bentley said. “We’ve been overjoyed at the number of people that have come to give our students the chance to do that.”