The Leader in Me At RCE

by Diana Duckworth, Elementary Counselor
Pictured left to right:  Preston Dreisewerd, Jamie-Lynn Haley, Tiger mascot Kaylee Beckham, and Jackson Hathaway. Pictured left to right: Preston Dreisewerd, Jamie-Lynn Haley, Tiger mascot Kaylee Beckham, and Jackson Hathaway.

"Proving a leadership centered environment that honors the greatness in every child."
By Diana Duckworth, Counselor

Last week was a wonderful week at RCE. I stand amazed at the opportunities students are given each week to step up as leaders and develop a spirit of compassion.

RCE’s student PBS (Positive Behavior Support) and Lighthouse Teams joined forces to complete their first service-learning activity. The activity started during homecoming week and culminated at last Friday’s morning assembly.
Several weeks ago, at their first official meeting, the leadership teams set two goals. The first was to create a float for the homecoming parade and the second was to make sure that every student at RCE had the opportunity to have their face painted with a Tiger paw prior to the homecoming parade.
Members of the leadership teams tied their desire to have faces painted with an opportunity to help one of our high school students, Jamie-Lynn Haley, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
Team members sent home envelopes with each student, asking kids to consider bringing their loose change to school to donate to Jamie-Lynn and her family. Students were assured that they would have their faces painted regardless of if they brought a donation or not.
“Synergize” is one of the seven habits being taught at RCE. The habit teaches that “together is better” and encourages kids to work together whether it is on a class project, learning multiplication facts, playing at recess, or carrying out a homecoming service project.
Joel Osteen once said, “You need to associate with people that inspire you, people that challenge you to rise higher, people that make you better.”
I have always taken that principle to heart and have been blessed with many wonderful, supportive people in my life. In fact, much of the success I experience is directly related to the people I surround myself with. I assured the kids that I had a lot of friends who would synergize with me to ensure the faces were painted.
It is an understatement to say that my friends and our community didn’t let me down. In one evening, I was able to recruit over twenty-five friends, parents, grandparents and former teachers who agreed to volunteer to paint Tiger paws on each of the 300+’ faces at RCE.

My favorite memory from this endeavor occurred when I contacted a good friend of mine, Dana Carter. Dana agreed to paint, but stated that she couldn’t “paint a straight line”. I reassured her that Tiger paws were round and that she was fully qualified. With all the volunteers, the face painting feat was accomplished in less than thirty minutes. It is amazing to see what happens when people work together.
The outpouring of love from our students and community with this project was overwhelming. One student came to school and told me that she had gotten money for her birthday and it was more than she needed, so she brought $15 of her birthday money to donate. Other students searched through their couches and piggy banks looking for change. Everyone wanted to help Jamie-Lynn and their enthusiasm and desire to help spread like wildfire. Synergizing together, the school collected $1068 for Jamie-Lynn and her family.
This past Friday, Jamie-Lynn was invited to RCE’s opening assembly to accept the donation. After a short introduction read by Jackson Hathaway. a member of the Student Lighthouse Team, Jamie-Lynn was presented with a “check” by our school Tiger mascot, Kaylee Beckham. Preston Dreisewerd presented Jamie-Lynn with a poster he had made at home to show his support for her. Jamie-Lynn expressed her gratitude by greeting students with a high-five as they left the gymnasium.
Everyone knows the importance of teaching the 3 R’s: reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. I am so glad that we have gone beyond the three R’s to include teaching students to develop a giving heart and a desire to help others. Working together (synergizing) we truly can do so much more.