Engage in a conversation with virtually any student at Loreburn Central School, and you’re like to find yourself chatting with young people who are deeply rooted and involved in their everyday learning and what’s happening both in and out of the classroom, the likes of which might not be seen at other schools in other communities.
For staff and students of the K-12 facility in the rural village, their approach to tackling the problems of each day – educational or not – comes from putting leadership qualities to work and applying a number of habits that call for practical solutions in order to reach desired outcomes.
Those leadership qualities were on display on Thursday, March 30 when Loreburn students and staff welcomed over 60 guests to the school for their fourth annual Leadership Day. The morning-long event is organized every year by students to show parents and the visiting public their daily leadership skills, as well as how they’re applying what’s known as the Seven Habits into their lives both in and out of the classroom.
The habits include bullet points such as “Be Proactive”, “Begin with the end in mind”, “Put first things first”, and “Think win-win”; effective motto-like tools for the students to help them in their education, as well as finding solutions to other problems in their lives.
The Leadership Day started off with students welcoming visitors to Loreburn Central right at the main doors of the school, complete with a decorated entrance to the gymnasium that literally gave attendees the red carpet treatment. The event carried a theme known as “The Decades”, including tables in the gym that had colored markers with song titles and years written on them; the 60’s table highlighted “Hey Jude” by The Beatles, while the 90’s table featured “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.
Leadership Day in Loreburn is a direct result of the “Leader in Me” program, which was integrated into the school’s curriculum starting in 2012. The program works to introduce change in three key areas: teaching leadership skills to students and applying them in their daily schoolwork; empowering and encouraging both students and staff to have a voice in their schools; and working to make students ‘active agents’ in their learning.
The opening portion of the event saw greetings from Loreburn Central Principal Jill Long, as well as a parent’s perspective on the Leader in Me program from Lori Ann Bandura, who has been very impressed with what the program has done to affect the lives of students and families.
“What you students are learning here is going to help you outside the borders of this school,” said Lori, who works as a part-time librarian in Elbow. “So much has changed in our lives due to this program.”
Student presentations included music from Carter O’Brien, as well as comedy from Derek Griffin. As well, students Jorja Glubis and Jess Sabraw spoke about the WIGS that students have, which stands for Wildly Important Goals, as well as WIG Wednesday, where students meet each week to discuss those goals and encourage one another.
Following a musical performance by guitarist and vocalist Nicole Yakimoski and her mother, guests were led by student tour guides around the school to see how these leadership qualities and different learning techniques were being applied in each classroom.
The classroom tours were a chance for visitors to talk with the students about what they’re learning and how they’re working to become leaders. In the Grade 9/10 room, students talked about applying the Seven Habits and the projects in their Leadership Class that they believe will benefit the school. In another room, Grade 3 and 4 students proudly showed off their Genius Hour projects that were a result of applying the Seven Habits and allowing the students to have a voice in guiding what those projects turned out to be. Meanwhile, in the Grade 5 and 6 classroom, guests could rotate through stations such as Blended Math Projects, Synergy Activity, a Rubix Cube Competition, and binders that showed off how they’re applying leadership qualities in their work.
After the tours had ended, lunch was provided to everyone, and guests were further encouraged to speak with students about the Leader in Me program and how they’re utilizing a number of factors and lessons to become older and more mature leaders as the school year rolls on.
By putting the students front and center with the annual Leadership event, staff at Loreburn Central School are undoubtedly pleased to see that the Leader in Me program is continuing to show a rewarding payoff.