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

by Diana Duckworth, Elementary Counselor

Last fall, Jardel Stratton, one of the second grade teachers at Ralls County Elementary learned that her cancer, which she thought she had beaten years ago, had returned. Since her diagnosis, she has been on medical leave from school, working hard to recuperate from surgery and her cancer treatments.
I have been blessed with family, I have been blessed with friends, and I have also been blessed with friends who have become family to me. Jardel fits the bill for being a friend who has truly become family to me.
Jardel and I have spent endless nights after school laughing together and sharing stories. In fact, every night as I would leave school, I would stop in to talk to Jardel about something that happened during the school day. My daughter, Megan Hathaway, who also teaches second grade would come over and some nights we would laugh until we nearly cried. Other nights we would simply talk about our dreams, our frustrations, or just visit about things going on in our lives.
Jardel is someone who listens and cares about people. She looks for the good in people and finds it. She cares about me, about my family, and about every child she has ever taught.
Jardel has a great laugh and a great smile. Her laugh has been one of the things that the staff and kids at RCE have missed the most. Jardel has a way of smiling through everything. The other day, one of the students was asking me when Ms. Stratton would be coming back to school. She said, “Ms. Stratton is like the heart of the school.” What a great way to explain the effect that Jardel has on the students and staff at RCE.
On March 28th, Ralls County Elementary students and staff will be hosting a fundraising event at the elementary school to benefit Jardel. We have headlined the event “Smile Through the Fight”. Starting at 5:00, we will be hosting a taco supper and baked food sale. Quarter Madness and a Trivia Night for Kids will begin at 6:00. Free-will donations will be accepted and proceeds from the events will be given to Jardel to help pay for her medical expenses.
The Leader in Me program teaches the concept of “synergizing”. In essence this means “together is better” which means that we can accomplish more when we work together. Please mark your calendar and come show your support for Jardel in her fight against cancer. It will take everyone working together to make this night a success.
I serve on the team planning the baked food sale. If you would like to donate an item for the baked food sale, please contact me at school at 573-267-3341 or by email at You can also contact me if you would like to register a team for the Kids Trivia or donate an item for Quarter Madness.
To be able to smile in the face of adversity is a great gift. Jardel has been able to “smile through the fight”, but I know she would appreciate the continued support of our school and community.
I will conclude this week’s column with a quote from Mollie Marti, “Helping others in need is not only a responsibility of life; it is what gives meaning to life.”