Student leadership on display

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Students show off their classroom project to visitors during Leadership Day.

ARROWWOOD – Her students performed their skits, songs and speeches admirably, and did all the right things that come with Leadership Day.

What Principal Shelley Davis Forman was most proud, however, was the fact leadership is more than just a slogan at Arrowwood Community School. After parents, siblings, community members and dignitaries had gone for the day, those students are living leadership.

“When you are out on the playground and you hear kids saying things like ‘we need to practice win-win to figure this out,’ or ‘we should be more proactive with this garbage,’ you know that they’re using it inherently,” she says.

The second annual event was designed to celebrate the students’ leadership skills and their learning. The day began with students greeting guests at the front doors, shaking hands as they passed into the gym for the program.

Arrowwood has been a Leader in Me school since 2013, and in between musical performances the students acted out each of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Students.

Student leaders then served as tour guides, taking visitors from class-to-class so they could show off what they have been working on this year. They talked about their school, classroom and personal WIGs (Wildly Important Goals), and shared their leadership notebooks and other projects, ranging from art to science to computer coding.

While this is Davis Forman’s first year as principal, she has been with Arrowwood Community School for 11 years and says student leadership has come a long ways.

“Kids are just knocking at the doors to be able to have those opportunities to step up and be the shining leader,” she says, adding students have come to realize being a leader isn’t about being the loudest and most organized. “There are all different kinds of leaders and we can all be leaders of something, no matter what kind of leader we are. Leadership boosts confidence, motivation and ultimately, success.”

Trista Wiebe says being a leader is all about setting positive examples for others, especially the younger students. The Grade 7 student is involved in a number of leadership committees, including those putting on special events like dances and jersey day, or helping run intramural sports at recess and cleaning up afterwards.

Although it means putting in extra work, Wiebe says it’s worth it to see other students getting more involved in the school.

“Everything starts as an idea. I love to see the ideas turn into something that’s a tradition, that we do every single year. I love that sort of thing,” she says.

Grade 1 student Kash McMorris says his favourite habit is Think Win-Win.

“It means don’t just think about you, you think about both of us. And if you both want something, you just do both,” he says.

Jamie Liu says being a leader is all about helping others. Synergize is the Grade 2 student’s favourite habit.

”If you are on soccer team and there’s only one player on your team and the rest are not playing, then you will not win if you really wanted to win,” she explains. “But if everybody gets together and works together, you may win.”

After the tours wrapped up, the adults returned to the gym for dessert and further conversations with student leaders.

Arrowwood Community School, located east of Okotoks, serves students in Grades 1 to 9.