The Leader in Me at Ralls County Elementary

February 12, 2020
Megan Bergthold and Izzy Bergthold with Annabelle Roberts and Adelyn Conrad at RCE assembly. Megan Bergthold and Izzy Bergthold with Annabelle Roberts and Adelyn Conrad at RCE assembly.

If you are over fifty, you have probably heard a song about the three fundamentals of education. They are called the “3 R’s”, “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic”. As school counselor, I think there is one more “r” that needs to be added to this list. The fourth “r” stands for relationships.

Woodrow Wilson served as president of the United States during WWI and saw firsthand the tragedy that resulted from a world at war. He led the nation at a time when friendship and positive relationships between countries were faltering. President Wilson once said, “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” He knew the importance of healthy relationships.
In January of this year, Izzy Bergthold, a fourth grader at Ralls County Elementary experienced a life-threatening medical emergency just prior to participating in a youth basketball game. Two parents with medical backgrounds, who were also attending the game, jumped into action and helped save Izzy’s life. Within a week, Izzy underwent open chest surgery to address the medical condition. As a mother and grandmother, I can’t imagine the fear and pain this family experienced. For most, the fear of losing a child is one of the greatest fears in life.
We live in one of the most caring communities I know. Our community steps up to the plate when others are hurting. For the Bergthold family, the community helped with babysitting the younger siblings, providing food for the family, praying for Izzy to recover, sending cards, and many other acts of kindness.
I asked permission from the family before writing this article. Izzy’s mom, Megan Bergthold, recounted how the girls on the basketball team prayed for Izzy when they found out she was hurt. Izzy was taken by ambulance and the game was played despite her absence. The girls chanted “This is for Izzy” throughout the game, which they went on to win. At every game now, Izzy’s teammates wear headbands that say “Izzy Strong”.
It is exciting to know that it wasn’t just Izzy’s teammates who were cheering her on. The competitors from Silex gave Izzy a gift basket with a t-shirt that said, “Faith, Love and Basketball”. The Silex team knew that the most important thing in life isn’t winning the game, the most important things in life revolve around caring about others. They knew the importance of relationships.
Positive, caring relationships truly are “the cement that holds the world together”. After Izzy’s surgery the kids at RCE wanted to help Izzy and sponsored a “hat day”. Our students and staff donated $1 and wore a hat to school with the proceeds going to Izzy and her family. This past Friday, Annabelle Roberts and Adelyn Conrad presented the proceeds of the hat day to Izzy and her mom at the morning assembly.
Izzy’s mom addressed the students after the presentation. She expressed her appreciation to the students and the community for helping Izzy and her family. By the tone of her voice, I sensed the thankfulness of a mother’s heart knowing that our school loved her family enough to step up and help.

I hope that every student at RCE develops a love for reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. I also hope that they also build strong, caring relationships.
On February 14, RCE will kick off our “Random Acts of Kindness Week”. Our Student Lighthouse Team has come up with several fun activities to celebrate this week. Kids will be challenged to do acts of kindness at school, in their homes, and throughout the community.
When I see students and our community reaching out to help others, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Kids learn by example. As educators, parents, and grandparents, it is our responsibility to teach our youth to look beyond themselves and see the good in others. We need to teach our children to care for others and serve others, because by helping others we build positive relationships that last a lifetime.