The Leader in Me At RCE "Proving a leadership centered environment that honors the greatness in every child."

by Diana Duckworth, Elementary Counselor

Isn’t it amazing when a small, insignificant thought is spoken aloud and turns into something amazing? Well that is exactly what happened several years ago when Greg Gatson (our former high school counselor), casually mentioned that he would love to see all our students presented with the opportunity to participate in a service learning activity.
It was a great idea, and the counseling team ran with it. Our first district-wide “Service Learning Week” was held in the fall of 2017. This year, Ralls County R-II School District continued the tradition. The goal for the week was to give every student, kindergarten through twelfth grade, the opportunity to help someone in their community.
Through these opportunities to help others, students throughout the district experienced the joy that comes with being “givers”. We live in a world where many times the emphasis is on self and how we can personally benefit in situations. We pursue all the trinkets that life has to offer, and at times are guilty of ignoring our social responsibility to promote the good of others.
Service Learning Week is an excellent example of utilizing Habit 4, “Think Win-Win”. Think Win-Win, as defined by Steven Covey, occurs when “I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. I make deposits into others’ emotional bank accounts. When conflicts arise, I look for third alternatives.” This habit builds on the “I Win, You Win, We Win” mentality.
Helping others in our community this past week has been a definite Win-Win. Some of the activities our elementary students participated in were painting picnic tables on the playground, playing BINGO with nursing home residents, fall caroling at Center Senior Housing, making pictures for homebound residents, remembering and honoring our veterans, and collecting stuffed animals for hospital patients.
At the junior high/high school level, students traveled throughout the community learning about the different organizations that serve our community. They visited the fire department in Center, explored the work of the first responders in New London, and visited the Perry VFW. They then created letters and care packages to send to our active servicemen.
Mark Twain High School students participated in a county wide trash pick-up project, served lunch at the NL Senior Citizens Center, completed fall work for the Corps of Engineers, painted at the high school, and started painting a mural on the Center City Hall wall.
Creating a Win-Win means that everyone walks away with their emotional needs being met. Students participating in the social learning projects definitely felt good helping others, and our community benefited from their service. It was a Win-Win for everyone involved.
A formal “Service Learning Week” is scheduled to occur every other year in Ralls County, but that isn’t stopping our kids from living this habit every day. If you were a fly on the wall at RCE during a typical day, you would see many kids stepping up to help. After lunch, our students are excited when they are given the opportunity to clean tables after lunch or help collect recycling materials. They love distributing Buddy Packs and helping with classroom jobs.
In Ralls county, we are truly creating leaders with servants’ hearts.