Walking into Highland Elementary School will make anyone feel like they're special because when you walk through those doors students greet you with a handshake and a warm smile.
On Thursday, February 27, several members of the Lake Stevens community were fortunate enough to receive that welcome from students and staff when they were invited to Leadership Day at the school.
The kids shared their experiences with local business owners, Superintendent Amy Beth Cook, Lake Stevens Fire Chief Dave Lingenfelter, several local principals and many other adults who came to see how their Leader in Me program has progressed over the last two years.
The Leader in Me program is based on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen R. Covey and is taught in schools around the country. Students learn the seven habits that will transform them into a good leader.
The Leader in Me website states it this way, "The Leader in Me produces transformational results such as higher academic achievement, fewer discipline problems, and increased engagement among teachers and parents. Better yet, The Leader in Me equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy."
Dozens of students participated in the event which was well received by the crowd who was given healthy treats and water as they first walked into the gym. Taking care of one's body or "Sharpening the Saw" is the seventh habit.
Kindergartners sang, third graders rapped and there were even a few cheers shared by the spirited Cheer Club.
Several fourth graders shared their stories of whom they considered a good leader. Included was a dad who is a firefighter and paramedic and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Second grade teacher Mrs. Wells explained how The Leader in Me Program has affected the school for good and how those who may not have always been thought of as leaders have stepped up to the task.
"Students have transformed into not being sure where they fit in to finding their place in school," Wells said. "It gives students a chance to lead who may have been overlooked."
After the presentation, the adults were split into groups and were given a tour of the school, including the opportunity to visit two classrooms where they could interact with the students and the teacher.
On the tour the community members were able to see posters and vinyl reminders all over the school of The Leader in Me program and its seven habits to be successful.
The seven habits included in The Leader in Me program are Be Proactive; Begin with the End in Mind; Put First Things First; Think Win-Win; Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood; Synergize and finally Sharpen the Saw.
Lake Stevens School District Superintendent Amy Beth Cook was excited to see how all the kids and staff are learning from the highly effective program.
"The Leadership Day at Highland Elementary was an excellent example of the wonderful culture we have in our schools. The staff has done an exceptional job of teaching and reinforcing the seven habits to the students," Cook said. "The lifelong skills the students are learning are certain to continue to positively impact their lives long after they leave Highland."