Woods Cross Elementary School took the top spot in the first ever Leadership Challenge for Elementary Schools, hosted by the Stephen R. Covey Leadership Center at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business in early March.
“In sports, there are play-offs, but what do we have for elementary-age children in the arena of leadership?” said Jade Crown, teacher and leader of the Woods Cross Elementary School team. “If it weren't for this extraordinary experience to step up to the plate with other top-notch students, how else would they know of what they are capable?”
The competition, which is anticipated to become an annual event, included teams of 10 elementary school students from 10 different Utah schools, and provided a special opportunity to focus on leadership skills like good citizenship and interpersonal communication. Students were given case studies in which they role played how they would react to situations like combatting severe pollution, or helping deaf students feel more comfortable in their class.
“[The students’] creative responses to the case studies included everything from formal presentations to skits and a rap,” said Emily Rice, a senior at USU’s Huntsman School majoring in finance/economics, who helped to judge the case study portion of the event.
The elementary school teams were given practice case studies prior to the event, and were judged on a rubric that included verbal and nonverbal communication as well as content. Following the competitive portion of the day, the students toured USU’s campus and played leadership-oriented games at workshops that were facilitated by faculty and students from USU’s Huntsman School.
“I thought it was really good experience for me,” said Macie Green, student from Woods Cross Elementary School. “At the beginning, I didn’t want to do it because we missed a bunch of recesses, but then after, I realized it was making me a better person. I’m glad that our school got to do it.”
Edith Bowen Laboratory School (Logan) took second place in the event, while Ellis Elementary School (Logan) came in third. Other participating schools included Layton Elementary, North Ogden Elementary, Mountainside Elementary (Mendon), Canyon Elementary (Hyrum), Valley View Elementary (Bountiful), West Kearns Elementary and Birch Creek Elementary (Smithfield).
“Regardless of age, a principle centered leader is able to do two things: one, define what happiness looks like in their life, and choose to live a happy life, and two, lift people within their circle of influence to help them live happier lives,” said Weston Hyde, program manager for the Stephen R. Covey Leadership Center. “If we can help these students see, even to a small degree, that they can be proactive and choose to live a very happy life, then this event would have been a massive success.”
For more information on the Stephen R. Covey Leadership Center’s Leadership Challenge for Elementary Schools, please contact Weston Hyde at 801-928-8993 or firstname.lastname@example.org.