H.O. Brittingham Elementary students held a daylong celebration May 16 to mark their national certification as part of a Leader in Me Lighthouse School.
Principal Kyle Bentley said H.O.B. is only one of four Lighthouse schools certified by FranklinCovey Education in Delaware and the first in Sussex County. The journey toward certification began in 2018 when the school adopted a motivational philosophy that also guides some of America’s most successful businesses and leaders.
The Leader in Me philosophy is based on Stephen Covey’s successful book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Covey’s son, Sean, adapted themes of his father’s book and geared them toward children in his own book, “The 7 Habits of Healthy Kids,” which illustrates the leadership skills all kids can learn.
Before the day’s activities kicked off, the Student Lighthouse Team held a press conference to share what it means to be a leader. Everyone can be a leader, students said; being involved gives them confidence, and allows them to make friends and have empathy for others.
By learning and living the seven habits, students said they consider themselves not just a team, but a family as they work to improve the school through kindness campaigns and food drives.
Students said they each have jobs, which begin in kindergarten and increase in complexity through the older grades. One of their favorite jobs is being a buddy reader to a kindergartener, which helps them connect with their younger schoolmates and teach them leadership skills.
District and local community leaders were welcomed to the event, which was headlined by keynote speaker Muriel Summers, former principal of the original Leader in Me School.
When she was growing up, Summers said, only a few students per classroom were considered leaders, but everyone is a leader at H.O.B. By promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, kids feel safe, loved and included, which allows them to succeed, she said.
“Do that with children every day and watch what will happen,” she said.
Students then led invited guests on school tours and hosted a talent show featuring singing, dancing and comedy acts.
To close the day, Bentley announced the school’s new status as a certified Lighthouse School, meaning it has produced outstanding results in school and student outcomes in teaching leadership principles, creating a leadership culture and aligning academic systems.