Friday, October 5, 2012
Harrison Elementary fifth-graders accept leadership role at special ceremony
At Harrison Elementary, the fifth-graders are kings and queens of the school – charged with serving as role models who encourage classmates to always do their best.
“As you grow into leaders, keep the school creed with you and remember you are ‘world changers.’ You have to believe in yourself now,” Principal Tammie Franks told the students at a special ceremony Thursday.
As the students filed into the gym at the ceremony, they found their names on paw prints lining the path. (From FCPS)
Each child received a small laminated card bearing the creed, which includes such affirmations as “I am valuable and deserve the best” and “I have purpose, and I am somebody.”
The Harrison students also listened to a pair of former college football players who became community leaders: LFUCG Councilman Chris Ford and Darryl Thompson, economic development manager for Fayette County Public Schools.
“It can be tough sometimes, but any accomplishment and any success you’ll have, you’ll always have to put in the work,” said Ford, the father of four young sons.
He also noted the importance of using time wisely, saying, “If you waste time, you really can’t get it back, and that’s a wasted opportunity.”
Ford recalled his early interest in politics and public service, and he urged the fifth-graders to use their experience at Harrison as a springboard to a positive future.
Thompson, who grew up in Chattanooga, also remembered his elementary school days fondly. Living in a single-parent household, he never made excuses and gave his best effort.
“You’ll encounter things that challenge you, but you have to keep on going. If you have dreams, stay focused on those dreams,” he told the Harrison crowd.
Thompson, who chose a degree in English as a pathway to law school, quoted poets Langston Hughes and Ralph Waldo Emerson and cited abolitionist Harriet Tubman as an admirable example, saying, “She always told people to never, never look back.”
He suggested the students indulge in poetry and prose as a means to empowerment and reminded them that a goal without a plan is only a wish.
“All I can see is greatness and great opportunities,” Thompson said as he scanned the gym.
Harrison’s principal and staff wrapped up the program by handing out certificates and polo shirts that fifth-graders will wear only on “World Changer Wednesdays,” when the school’s morning news show highlights people throughout history who have made a lasting impact.
“Here at Harrison, we really work hard at planning for the future. We want you to know what it’s like to feel that pride when you walk across that stage to get your diploma,” Franks told her students before they filed by. “It starts with a great education. We must graduate high school and college to get the jobs we need to make the world a better place.”