Young leaders: Berryville 2nd-graders answer call

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
The new second grade leadership team of Berryville Elementary School met for its first meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The student leaders have been tasked with modeling good behavior, good attendance and good reading throughout the school year.
Photo by Tavi Ellis/Carroll County News

Leaders step up at a young age in the Berryville School District.

Berryville Elementary School recently announced the students chosen to serve on the second grade leadership team for the 2017-18 school year. Cason Willing and Angely Alcantar will represent Stephanie Hopper’s class. Cashton Martin and Alyssa Solorzano will represent Stacie Johnson’s class. Medardo “Kike” Morales Sandoval and Julia Miller will represent Nancy Martin’s class. Mika Bolerjack and Taylor Gray will represent Jennifer McCullough’s class. Wyatt Fox and Taylor Ward will represent Lauren Robinett’s class, and Dakota Rowland and Daisy Ballard will represent Rebecca Zeman’s class.

Principal Kelly Swofford held the first meeting for the second grade leadership team last Tuesday and asked the students what it means to be a good leader.

Miller said that it means responsibilities, such as helping pick out new playground equipment.

“Yes, last year’s leadership team helped us pick out equipment for the new playground. They got to spend $45,000,” Swofford said, making the kids gasp. “I’m afraid you all won’t have that choice this year.”

Rowland said being a good leader means being kind to others.

“That’s right,” Swofford said. “What’s one way we could show the kindergartners how to be kind to each other?”

“If someone wants to be mean, then we could tell them to go away or else you will tell a teacher,” Morales Sandoval said.

Swofford agreed, saying it is always good to discourage bullying. He said there is another way as well.

“What do we say?” he asked.

“No rough play!” the kids called back.

Swofford said teaching kindergartners not to play rough would be one of the leadership team’s biggest projects for the year.

“I’m going to get you all out of class, and you’re going to go to recess with kindergarten,” he said. “You’re going to help me teach them that there is no rough play. You’re going to be the teachers.”

Ballard suggested that they could make a video showing the kindergartners how to play while being kind and respecting others. Swofford said that sounded like a great idea.

The second big goal for the leadership team, he said, is spreading the idea that every day counts. He asked the students what the phrase means.

“I think ‘every day counts’ means you should be happy every day about school,” Morales Sandoval said, “because you get to learn something new every time.”

Swofford agreed and said it is also important that students and staff are present every day.

“It means that sometimes we have to do what we don’t want to do,” Miller said.

“Yes,” Swofford said. “Making every day counts means coming to school because it’s important that we’re here when we can be here. It’s about attendance.”

The third goal for the leadership team, he said, will be helping kindergartners with their reading skills. During the W.I.N. program, which stands for “Whatever I Need,” Swofford said that elementary students receive individualized help to prepare them to do their best.

“I think you guys are going to absolutely love this,” he said to the students. “I want you guys to be in your W.I.N. groups for the first half of the semester, but starting the second nine weeks I would like you guys to be W.I.N. group leaders.”

Swofford said the students would be paired with a kindergarten student and read with them during the W.I.N. program period in the afternoon.

“You will have your own W.I.N. group,” he said. “How cool is that?”

The leadership team cheered, excited for the opportunity.

Swofford then reviewed the team’s three main goals for the year: modeling good behavior on the playground, modeling good attendance throughout the school year and modeling good reading.

“I will call you by class from time to time when we have new students, and you will show them where their class is and where the cafeteria is,” he said. “You will be like a big brother or big sister to those new students.”

Swofford said he would soon have leadership badges ready for the students and reminded them that no one on the leadership team should ever come to his office for bad behavior.

“You’ve been chosen for this team because you’re a leader, so stay out of trouble,” he said.

The students said they are excited to serve on the second grade leadership team this school year.

Fox and Morales Sandoval said they are looking forward to having their own W.I.N. groups.

“I’m excited about helping kids get better at reading in W.I.N.,” said Willing.

“I’m most happy about helping other kids,” said Bolerjack.

“I’m excited that I’m part of the team,” said Rowland.

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