Manti Elementary students show off skills at annual Leadership Day activities
By Doug Lowe
MANTI—Ever since the 2014-15 school year, students at Manti Elementary School have become engaged in planning, organizing, producing and playing roles in a special day to celebrate the school’s “Leader in Me” program and the “7 Habits of Happy Kids.”
“It has been a great day!” exclaimed the school’s new principal, Dave Epson, as the late afternoon sun shimmered on hundreds of iridescent soap bubbles floating up, up and away from the scores of enthusiastic students making the bubbles out on the playground.
Epson explained. “Our lighthouse team of students came up with the idea of releasing hundreds of helium-filled balloons to symbolize students rising to meet life’s opportunities and challenges out in the world, when they leave school.”
But, implementing that idea encountered two problems: it would cost a lot, and would possibly harm the environment. By applying Habit 4, Thinking Win-Win, the lighthouse team responded by coming up with a win-win solution to both problems. This turned out to be a solution of soapy water, which enable scores of students enjoy hundreds—maybe even thousands—of airborne soap bubbles.
When the leaders and teachers at Manti Elementary first tried the Leader in Me program, it came to them via a grant applied for by the principal at that time, Karen Soper. After testing the program through out that first year, Soper and her staff agreed it was well worth paying for, and arranged to continue funding the program’s annual license fee using monies allocated from the State’s Land Trust.
Over time, the 7 Habits grew to include habit 8, which is “Find Your Voice.” According to Epson, Manti Elementary School also has “three rules” which he says are new: be safe in everything; be kind to yourself; and, be respectful to self, to others and to property.
This year, as usual, parents and all others in the community, were welcome to come and participate in Leadership Day activities which included a whole series of events, including a student written, produced, acted, and edited video about the Adventures of Alice In Wonderland when she went there and got lost without the 7 Habits to help her.
As always, the classroom visits and tour of the entire school proved popular with parents, and the special day’s special events ended with a special lunch with the Student Lighthouse Team.
This year, as in the past, Karen Soper, the school’s beloved former principal, was on hand—leaving her duties as principal at the high school, to watch Leadership Day in action. “It was awesome, as usual,” Soper reported afterward. “I love how the program helps young people grow, change, and realize they don’t need a title in order to become a leader.”