In the currently charged political climate, it is not my place to weigh in publicly on the tension our nation is experiencing just a few short weeks ahead of Election Day.
However, I will gladly share with you stories of campaigning, voting, and leadership that we saw at Friends’ elementary school last week at our student council elections.
Our fifth graders are eligible to run for President and Vice-President of student council. Of our twenty-one fifth graders, twelve threw their names in the ring. We had six pairs of students on a ticket who wished to lead the student-led group that plans events and spirit days and brings the students’ voice to our school leadership.
Posters were created, campaign speeches were written, appeals were made, and all of our elementary students exercised their right to vote.
Leadership guru John C. Maxell once wrote: “A leader is one who knows the way, shows the way and goes the way.”
As our fifth graders reflected about what leadership means to them now that they are the oldest in the elementary building, they shared their thoughts in writing. Here are a few samples:
I will help the younger kids when they are feeling down and not so good, and invite them to play with me. I will also set a good example like listening to my teachers.
I will be responsible and safe and helpful. I am excited to be a 5th grader and help.
I will do the best I can to be a good role model. I will help the new younger kids on getting to know all the rules of the school and I will help them find friends and to feel welcome to the school.
I'll set good examples, such as NOT running down the hall and DEFINITELY washing my hands before snack and lunch. I'll help them when they need it (and I'll help Dacia and the staff if they'd like, too). I'll do my best to show the kindergarteners how to do the things they don't know how to do, and I'll help them with the things they're not good at.
I will be nice, friendly, helpful, and yielding to young people. I will be helpful to my buddies and let them take their own steps at their own pace. I will make Friends School a better place for children and faculty alike. I will NOT bully people because I am bigger and stronger. I shall stand up to a bully if I see one.
I am proud that each of our candidates ran a positive and upbeat campaign and I know that they will support their friends and classmates in their success. Congratulations to Autumn and Kathleen on being voted President and Vice-President.
I am looking forward to working with them to help to improve our school. I am eager to hear their ideas and have them report to me on what all the students are thinking.
The real winners here however are all of our elementary students. They have an opportunity to get a jumpstart on one of their most important responsibilities as citizens: voting. We all got a taste of what it’s like to hear positive ideas set forth by candidates, instead of negative messages. And it was all done in a supportive educational atmosphere ripe with respect and courtesy.
Our fifth graders know the way, show the way and go the way!