Video: Program Teaches Character, Leadership Skills For Grade Schoolers

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – School is out for most students in our area. While end of the year celebrations featured field days and other fun activities, students at one Tupelo elementary school were recognized for their participation in a unique program.
For seven students, part of their last day of school was spent helping sort books in Lawhon Elementary’s Media Center.

The young men are part of a pilot program called the “Lawhon Leadership Academy”

“We put together a group of students that we believe had leadership potential, and certainly had influence among their peers,” said Ryan Curry, who is assistant principal at Lawhon. He enlisted the help of adult mentors for the voluntary program. The Lawhon leaders met twice a week, before school and went over lessons, and various activities, all designed to develop character and leadership abilities.

They also took part in service projects. Students do not receive incentives, but they did get recognized during a brief ceremony on the last day of school.

Curry believes the first year for the Lawhon Leadership Academy made a big impact.

“After our first semester, we went back, talked with students who participated, wanted to look and see what they thought could improve the program, so in our second semester, added more students, we tailored more it towards what Lawhon’s needs were, we saw a good bit of participation and enthusiasm come from that,” Curry said.

Mentors enjoyed teaching students about servant leadership, while the grade schoolers say they learned valuable lessons.

“Mr. Curry instilled this within them from the beginning, we are servant leaders, not here really to get anything except better life skills,” said Stan White, who served as a mentor.

“They have taught me loyalty, respect and everything. Not to be a follower but to be a leader,” said Damarie Jackson, a fifth grader who is a “Lawhon Leader.”

Starting next school year, Ryan Curry will be principal at Lawhon and he plans to continue Lawhon Leaders, showing young people they can be leaders, no matter their age or their background. This semester, a program for girls began called “Lawhon Ladies.” It teaches them a lot of life skills from a female context.

Categories: Local News

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