Meyer Elementary School honored students — one per grade level — who practiced the “7 Habits of Happy Kids” Friday afternoon at its “Greatness Gathering.”
The assembly, which falls under the “Leader in Me” program, featured various students who presented at the podium instead of teachers, an experience that helps them practice public speaking and leadership.
“We do the Greatness Gathering four times a year in order to honor our students who are exhibiting the seven habits,” explained Meyer Assistant Principal Monique Degeyter.
“They either nominate themselves or more often, the kids nominate who they see doing the habits. They get the opportunity to say how they’ve incorporated the habits into their lives.
“We’ve done it for so long, it’s kind of organized now. The teachers do the nominations in the classrooms with the kids and they write their own words.”
After the nominations were presented, a talent show featuring various acts from jump roping, ribbon dancing and singing, took place.
Degeyter shared that the talent portion was added in because “‘kids can’t always do everything academically.
“The kids who get up on stage, maybe they struggle in the classroom, but they have something they want to show off. So we want to recognize a different talent that they might have in a different way.”
Fourth-grader Kailee Dabila, one of the three dancers who performed to the song “In the Name of Love” by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha, shared that once she went on stage, “my butterflies went away.”
For fourth-grader Chloe Martinez — a former Taylor Ray student, it was her first time being on stage and participating in the school’s Greatness Gathering.
“I practiced at home and will always come into the gym to practice. That kind of helped me,” she said. As for what she hopes to inspire? For other students to “follow their dreams.”
Degeyter noted that while it will be their second annual Leadership Day coming up in April, the Greatness Gathering has been going on for several years.
“We used to do it every six weeks and that was too much,” said Degeyter. “Now we do it two in the fall, two in the spring.
“When we first started, I did all of the talking. Now, we let the kids do all of the talking. They’re our emcees and we pick them every year.”
The talent, she recalled, used to be presented by grade level. “This time it’ll be third grade, this time it’ll be fourth grade — but this year, we did it anybody from third to fifth grade can try out,” she explained.
“They have to turn in an application and they have to try out in front of myself and my librarian. We pick three acts because that’s the amount of time we have. This time, we had 10 try out and we had to cut it down to three.”
And for Degeyter’s favorite part of the Greatness Gathering? “The talent part,” she answered. “I think everybody really likes the talent part. When we saw the little girl sing today, normally, she’s very quiet. That’s a lot of people to get up and sing in front of.
“It’s neat to see them shine like that when they get the chance.”