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IHS hosts Leadership Day

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Isabella High School hosted its first Leadership Day on May 7.

The event kicked-off with students cheering for visiting community members as they arrived and singing songs about leadership.

In the auditorium, visitors were given a glimpse of what students viewed as their greatest accomplishment for the year as well as an overview of what it means to be a Leader in Me School. The Senior Student Leadership Team led the assembly.

“Three years ago, we the students worked with our faculty to develop a mission statement,” Student Leadership Team member Noelle Fjeldstad said.

The new mission statement is short and to the point.

“We have truly adopted the mission and motto of ‘Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today,’” Fjeldstad said.

One way the school has done this is by becoming a Leader in Me School through FranklinCovey Education and focusing on developing the Seven Habits originally outlined by Stephen Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Our journey with Franklin Covey in becoming a Leader in Me school has truly been a game changer,” Principal Ricky Porter said. “The buy-in from our students, faculty, and parents has been amazing. It has been remarkable watching our students become leaders of their own learning and implementing the seven habits into their daily lives.  We are excited about the direction we are headed and what the future holds.”

“We are being given more opportunities to lead our own learning both in the classroom and throughout the school,” Fjeldstad said.

Fjeldstad said the High School Student Leadership Team painted inspirational quotes on the walls last summer.

“Even though we are just in year one, we are proud of our accomplishments so far,” Fjeldstad said.

Activities related to the habits held throughout the school year were showcased through a video before the assembly.

“We are learning how to become leaders of our own learning and lives,” team member J.P. Gibson said.

Gibson said part of embracing the school’s new mission was to believe that every person can be a leader and be a part of positive change.

“Being a leader is not about being a boss,” Blake Henderson said. “It’s about being able to lead our own lives. It is about having the ability where we can live our lives and make good choices … It’s not about power. It’s about service.”

The Elementary School Leadership Team presented the 7 Habits.

After the assembly, Senior Student Leadership Team members led tours of classrooms where visitors had a glimpse of what students were studying. Students also presented speeches, data notebooks of their best work and displayed their science projects in the library.

Many of the students on the leadership team had met with Assistant Principal Sue Ellen Gilliland to plan the event.

“At Isabella High School, we believe that our students are more than a test score,” Sue Ellen Gilliland said. “Please don’t misunderstand. We strive to make sure that every child reaches his or her greatest potential in each subject.  We have high expectations for learning the content standards for all grades. However, we (which includes all stakeholders) agree that we must also develop soft skills as well as social and emotional skills in order to adequately prepare our students to be productive citizens and tomorrow’s leaders.”

Leadership team member Danielle Gilliland was one of the tour guides.

“To be able to lead around my superintendent (Chilton County Schools Superintendent Jason Griffin) is a really big honor,” Danielle Gilliland said.

She said the planning group had wanted to showcase as much of the school as possible.

Danielle Gilliland said she hoped the visitors would see “the goodness of the people” at the school.

Leadership team member Anna Farris said she wanted the tours to highlight that at Isabella “we do things differently … and the way we treat people.”

“Everybody is nice to everybody, and we treat each other with respect,” Farris said.

Leadership team member Ben Martin said he wanted to be a part of the event to help “display our leadership.”

He said he wanted people to see “just how positive of a school we are.”

Martin said his leadership skills have developed by being a mentor to other students while teaching a lesson on the 7 habits.

Each member of the leadership team is responsible for one lesson during the school’s Flex time.