Ross Elementary was the focus of the Rotary Club of Crowley’s meeting. Led by Principal Paula Cutrer, first graders from the school presented the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as part of The Leader in Me Program. Participating Tuesday were students, front from left, Christiana Landry, Ja’Darius Byers, Archie Holmes, Ja’Ryiah Andrus, Adrenna McDowell, Tahj George, Mylan Milson, Tearinee Thomas, Jordan Lewis and Brylegh Myers; and, back row, first grade teacher LaQuanta Evans, school liaison Virgie Pitre, Rotary Club President Tracy Young, Cutrer and vocational speaker and program organizer Dr. Ezora Proctor.
Rotary gets a look ‘through the eyes of a child’, at Ross Elementary School
There’s no denying the fact that Ross Elementary School Principal Paula Cutrer is proud of the strides the school has made over the past four years.
Her “babies” or “children” as she affectionately calls the students have continued to step up and step forward with each passing year under “The Leader in Me” Program culminating in last year’s Lighthouse School status recognition and being named a Top Gains school by the state, the only elementary school in the parish to do so.
“The 7 Habits have not only been a positive influence in my children’s lives, but in my own life,” said Cutrer as she spoke to the Rotary Club of Crowley Tuesday.
She explained that as the world enters into a time of challenging change, it is incumbent to prepare students not only educationally speaking, but socially as well.
“Parents around the city see change in our students and know that traditional topics – the reading, the writing and the arithmetic – are necessary, but it’s not enough,” she said. “Our children have to become far more responsible, creative, tolerant of difference and they need to increase their ability to think for themselves.”
Cutrer, along with first grade teacher LaQuanta Evans and 10 of her students, served as the program for Tuesday’s Rotary meeting, organized by Dr. Ezora Proctor. Proctor tagged it as “Through the Eyes of a Child” and within about 5 minutes of the program, it was easy to see why, as the 10 first graders stole the show presenting songs and recitations that enforced the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – the core of “The Leader in Me” Program.
Created by Stephen R. Covey, the habits were originally published in 1999 as a business and self-help book authored by Covey. In the book, Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.
Years later, Muriel Summers, principal of A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina, looked to adapt those principles into a program that could help students. It has become a success with Ross Elementary becoming one of those success stories.
“We were introduced to The Leader in Me Program at a Leader in Me symposium that was held in Lake Charles,” said Cutrer. “We fell in love with the program. I said to myself, ‘Paula, this is what we need at Ross Elementary School’.”
After explaining the decision to jump to The Leader in Me Program, Cutrer turned the program over to Evans and the first graders who then sang two “7 habits songs” to the melodies of 2010’s hit pop songs “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz and “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.
Mixed into that were children reciting the 7 Habits for Rotarians as well as explaining how they incorporate those habits into everyday life.
The 7 Habits are as follows:
• Habit 1 – Be Proactive
• Habit 2 – Begin With the End in Mind
• Habit 3 – Put First Things First
• Habit 4 – Think Win-Win
• Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
• Habit 6 – Synergize
• Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw
The students definitely impressed the Rotarians as they offered several standing ovations to the young students as well as spoke after the meeting at how amazing it is to see students as young as first grade grasping the concepts so quickly and energetically.
Ross Elementary is one of several The Leader in Me Program schools in the parish.
Also Tuesday, two new members were inducted into the club, Alecia Bergeaux, proposed by Elliot Doré, and Don Trexler, proposed by Lee Lawrence.