Vincent Elementary holds Leadership Day

By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist

Employers: Looking for leaders? A talented faculty at Vincent Elementary School is growing them. Students confidently claim, “I am a leader. I put first things first.” Every student can explain that synergize is valuing other people’s strengths, and better solutions to problems come from working as a team. WHAT?

Bosses: Do your employees have WIGs? These kids do. Fifth grade right down to kindergarten individually and collectively set Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). Measurable goals. The goal for first grade is to improve a grade level in reading during a nine-week period, and they are 85 percent there with steps already identified to reach 100 percent.

Through “The Leader in Me” program, these young seedlings are learning how to develop habits that result in valued characteristics like respect for differences in others, self-motivation and team work, and they are lovingly nurtured through the care and feeding of an obviously dedicated staff. Every classroom’s mission statement is posted outside.

On March 15, attendees entered VES, walking through a hallway transposed into a fourth grade Living History Museum. In “Alabama – Where Stars Are Born,” students in thematic costume turned into a studied Star. By pushing their button, notables like Hank Aaron (Jonathon Matthews) and Helen Keller (Kyndell Scott) came to life. Hunter Buse portrayed baseball pitcher Matt Cain who shared he used to live in Vincent and his mom taught at this school. Alex Satterfield became Evander Holyfield when Harpersville Mayor Greene pushed his button.  Taniya Robertson portrayed Mae Jemison, the first African American astronaut, pointing out she was afraid of heights. Now that’s facing fear.

Raising just her right arm, Principal Dr. Bordon-Hudson quieted the energy that filled auditorium. Students led the assembly, where each grade level reported on their WIGs providing statistics to support their achievements. The performance of an age-appropriate song about leadership followed.

Do these skills transfer outside of school? According to mother Codie Davis they do. “The other day a little girl pushed Blakelee’s sister down at gymnastics. She walked over and started explaining the seven habits. And she’s 5!”

Employers no longer seek only technical skills. They are also looking for strong communication, collaboration, creativity and reasoning skills. Ding! These young students are developing from within responsibility, initiative and creativity, and learning to work as a team, give presentations, set goals and achieve them. The motto, “seek to understand before being understood,” results in resolution of conflicts through listening, understanding and caring.

“All of us at VES work hard to create an environment where students feel secure,” teacher Ashley Waldrop said. “Empowered to share ideas, voice concerns and create ways to take action.”

“Our teachers are growing future leaders by being self-sacrificing role models in every way,” Holly Hoyle said of her co-workers.

Through a nine-year foundation of experience, teachers are not only sprouting budding leaders, but good humans. Students claim, “Change starts with me!” There’s something really cool going on in Vincent. America, come on over for a visit. Bring your note pad.