Elizabeth Hollis & Slate Hill Elementary
Sometimes the best reward comes in the form of one’s chance to give of his/herself.
Slate Hill Elementary School Principal Elizabeth Hollis has taken the seven virtues she requires all her students to remember and incentivized living each one of those, especially her older students. The seven virtues are Responsibility, Respect, Honesty, Compassion, Giving, Perseverance and self-discipline.
Each month, Hollis recognizes a Student of the Month in each classroom, K-6. On Star Pride Day, Hollis provides the recipients and their families with a breakfast, a certificate and a T-shirt. The winners also get to eat lunch with Hollis, in her office.
In addition, students in K-4 have an assembly at the end of the day, but she wanted to do something different for her fifth and sixth graders. She had an idea where it’s not always about recognizing with a gift or party.
Hollis contacted administrators at the Laurels of Worthington and asked whether it would be OK if she brought her fifth and sixth grade award winners to the Center to visit with its residents once a month. The September event proved the idea to be a success and Hollis will do the same each month.
“At first I think they think, “I get to leave school for an hour!’ and that’s the reward,” said Hollis, “but to hear the conversations on the way back, it truly did what it was supposed to do and their hearts were full because they felt good about themselves.”
Students helped residents play BINGO, both assisting with calling out numbers and finding winners on their cards.
“I had a really good time because it was something different that I’ve never really done,” fifth grader and September winner Brenda Ortiz said. “It was really fun to play and help them out.”
Ortiz won her award in part because she showed perseverance among all the other virtues. Tests were difficult for her early in the year, but she kept working and even though “I didn’t know a question, I kept trying to think about what my teacher has been teaching me, and I ended up getting it right,” she said.
The Virtues aren’t just a poster on the wall, either. Students are constantly asked what they have done to display the virtues.
By emphasizing daily the good that can come with observing the seven virtues, students will become better prepared for life. In addition, students can develop the capacity to live responsibly and to judge wisely in life and conduct.
“Hopefully it’s contagious and it keeps going on,” she said. “It’s something I want to be a laser-like focus.”