WASHINGTON CITY – The cafeteria at Riverside Elementary in Washington City was bustling with activity Friday morning as students, dressed in their best clothes, participated in the school’s annual fall “Leadership Day.”
One of the goals of Riverside Elementary is to teach students – from the youngest kindergartner to the oldest fifth-grader – to be leaders in their school, their families and in their communities, said Riverside Elementary Principal Burke Staheli.
To that end, the school participates in a program entitled “The Leader in Me.” The program was developed by educators in concert with FranklinCovey and draws on the principals found in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” written by Stephen R. Covey.
“(The program) promotes leadership, it promotes that every child is a leader, every child has genius, every child has a cup of tea, has a niche,” Staheli said, ” … and leadership is a real niche that we want to build at Riverside. Leadership and responsibility.”
During Leadership Day students presented the seven habits that the school has incorporated to help build future leaders.
The school’s aim is to teach habits that are going to last them a lifetime, Staheli said, and he believes the habits that form the basis of how they run Riverside Elementary will have a positive impact on the students.
“They’re a great way to run a school,” Staheli said of the habits.
Riverside Elementary’s seven habits are:
- Habit one: Be proactive.
- Habit two: Begin with the end in mind.
- Habit three: Put first things first.
- Habit four: Think win-win.
- Habit five: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Habit six: Synergize.
- Habit seven: Sharpen the saw.
The message of the seven habits seems to resonate with the students who can readily name all seven and present them with accompanying actions that physically illustrate what the words say.
Fourth grade student Lydia Ricks said that her favorite habit is Habit two: Begin with the end in mind. Ricks performed a song during leadership day that she composed and wrote. Her lyrics contained all seven habits taught a Riverside Elementary and was an homage to her school. She loves her school, she said.
Developing a love for learning and a love for life is part of the school’s mission statement which is simple and effective:
“Learn for a lifetime, lead by example and love life.”
Third grade student Zach Tyler said that following the mission statement is something they do at Riverside Elementary but also something he tries to do in his daily life.
“I try to do it every day and it makes me feel happy,” Tyler said.
Recently Riverside Elementary’s leadership skills were on display at the Utah State Capitol. The school’s choir, which numbers over 200 students, was chosen to represent Washington County School District during the capitol’s centennial celebration. Approximately 80 members of the Riverside Elementary Choir performed at the Capitol building in Salt Lake City.
It was an opportunity for the choir to act as ambassadors for the school and showcase the talent and leadership skills the students are developing, Staheli said.
Leadership Day was attended by family and friends of the students as well as representatives from the school district including Superintendent Larry Bergeson.
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