This week, The Beechwood Weekly is starting a new feature to replace “Student of the Week”. Rather than pick one student each week who is excelling in the classroom, for the remainder of this year, we will be identifying students who are setting the example for others, in a broader, and perhaps more important category: character. “Valued Students”, will feature Beechwood students who exhibit the personal qualities that our community holds dear.
Here is a sampling of what might qualify a student for this honor:
Honesty. Telling the truth can be hard, especially if we have to take responsibility for a wrongdoing. Monday, at upper grade assembly, I asked the students to raise their hands if they had a cell phone in their pocket (a violation of school rules). Six kids raised their hands. What I said was, “Please put them back in your lockers, where they belong and keep them there.” What I thought was, “good for you all for telling the truth”.
Kindness. I was witness to this scene on Monday: A third grader wants to play in a basketball game with 8th graders. Not only do they let him play, they pass the ball to him and congratulate him with high fi ves when he makes a shot.
Persistence. I know a student who shows up every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 7:45am for 45 minutes of extra help from Ms. Buehner. This boy knows that he has to work hard to reach his potential and he does so without complaint. By sticking with it and working hard, he has been able to see marked improvement in his grades.
Charity. Sometimes people less fortunate than us need a helping hand. Currently we have a group of 5th graders selling used toys for the earthquake victims of Haiti and a group of 6th graders doing a canned food drive to help the homeless of Palo Alto. Yesterday a second grade boy said to me excitedly, “Mr. L, I am going to bring in some old toys and a whole bunch of cans!”
Forgiveness. I know a group of 5th graders and a group of 7th graders who used to have problems getting along. There was gossip, name-calling and hurt feelings. All of that is a memory now as these kids have worked through their problems and moved on. These kids know that holding a grudge is a waste of time and energy.
Martin Luther King, Jr. looked forward to a day when people would be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Beechwood students are encouraged to become people of character. We will be on the look out for those who are on their way to greatness.