SPRINGFIELD TWP.  Spring Hill Elementary School students held a Leadership Day for community and business leaders to show how the students are becoming leaders in the community and eventually the business world.

The students were the leaders of the entire program. The Let’s Play Ball themed day included a welcome time and light refreshments, news crew presentation, news crew celebrations, slideshow presentation, leadership song with drill team and "Take Me Out to The Ball Game." Visitors then traveled through the building to see the lead groups in action. Moving back to the cafeteria, students shared their leadership notebooks with their guests and then wrapped the event up and answered questions.

Spring Hill Guidance Counselor Charlene Mass was emotional about the success the students had on Leadership Day.

"It has been a long, emotional journey," she said. "I was emotional the day we had the program. It speaks to kids can do it. If you tell them they can do it, they can do it, and they did. Our kids really shined that day."

Teacher and Lighthouse Team member Dana Floyd shared a couple of thoughts from students as to what they thought about the day.

Aiden Compton wrote, "My thought about Leadership Day is that it went really well. It is nice to show others what we are working on here at Spring Hill."

"I thought Leadership Day went really well. It was nice to be part of a team. I loved the part where we all worked together and synergized to clean up," added Brayden Costantino.

Floyd said she was so proud of the kids and she was impressed when she told the kids she would bring ice cream to make sundaes. One student spoke up and said, "We didn’t do it for the sundaes, we did it because that was what we were supposed to do and we could do." Floyd said.

The student then said, "Although, if you want to bring in the ice cream, that’s OK."

That, she said, meant more to her than anything.

"They didn’t do it because they expected a reward out of it," Floyd said. "They did it because that is what they were supposed to do and were very capable of doing it.

"It was a great start to what we are trying to accomplish here."

The Leader in Me Program began at Spring Hill about two and a half years ago when the school received a grant to fund the program. The teachers have been emphasizing the "7 Healthy Habits" in everything the students do as the habits are skills they will be using in the workforce and as life skills.

Teachers Rae Lyn Craig and Dena Scrimo spoke about the program and the fact that the kids are really benefitting from it. They said It is a lot of structure which is something some of the students need. It also helps them with setting goals.

Leader in Me is giving students something to shoot for, according to Craig and Scrimo. The teachers said they hear kids using the vocabulary of the habits in the classroom such as "we can synergize," to solve a problem or do an assignment.

The staff at Spring Hill agrees that the students have grown, especially their self-esteem.

Floyd spoke about the Leadership Day and told about how, at one point, the kids had a difficult time getting the mic out of a different mic stand than what they had practiced with. One of the students got up, went over and worked on it.

"They all problem solved together - 'synergized' and were all 'proactive' just as they were taught with the habits," Floyd said. "They didn’t look at the teachers to do it, they worked to solve the problem. I think I might have gone to heaven for a little while, they were awesome."

Students become part of the leadership team by filling out applications and going through an interview process, just like they will someday for employment. The program teaches many skills needed for the students’ futures. Kids shake hands, introduce themselves, make eye contact and learn 21st century skills they will need in the real world.

"When we received the grant, we made the decision that this was what we were doing. We made it happen, we made a lot of changes and it has grown," said Mass. "The kids are amazing. As a counselor, it has given me the opportunity to work with all kids.

"To me, to see 400 kids working together, it was powerful."

Mass said she is so proud of the whole school. It was a great day and a nice way to end the school year on a positive note.

Both elementary schools, Young and Spring Hill, are working with Leader In Me programs. Floyd said there is a comradery between the schools. They both do things a little differently, but they visit each other’s schools and see the ideas they have come up with and work some of them into their programs.

Young Elementary Principal Jennifer Ganzer said she attended the Leadership Day at Spring Hill and said it was "awesome" and the kids "did a great job."