Return to Headlines

Bedford Village Fifth Graders Talk About What It Means to Be a Leader

 a group of BVES 5th graders discuss leadership in the pole barn

“What does it mean to be a leader?”

Bedford Village Elementary School (BVES) Principal Gina Smith asked the fifth-grade class to consider this question during a special grade-wide leadership meeting in the pole barn this week.

Students sat in groups and were asked to collaborate to come up with answers to two essential questions: What does it mean to be a BVES fifth-grade leader? and What are some things you would like to do as a leader of our school?

Principal Smith and Elementary Coordinator Christina Valentine walked around and spoke with each of the groups as they discussed the questions, pushing them to think deeper and tugging at strings in their conversations. One student from each group acted as a recorder, taking notes on a clipboard, while the group shared their thoughts.

After students had some time to answer the first question, Smith and Valentine brought them back together as a group to communicate the ideas they had come up with.

“A leader should do the right thing, even if no one is looking,” Emily told the group.

“Yes!” Smith said. “When you do that, it’s not because you’re trying to show somebody you’re doing the right thing. You’re doing it because you’re being a leader.”

After students shared ideas, they reconvened with their groups to think of ways they could be leaders at school.

“We want to give you opportunities to do things most students don’t get to do,” Smith said. “You all have much better ideas than we do. You know what other kids need.”

She reminded students to be realistic, noting that there are things we can do and things we can dream to do. For the purposes of this meeting, students were to think of things that could be started right away.

After discussing it together, each group shared one of their ideas with the grade. Many of the ideas involved being helpers around the school.

“We can help younger kids with classwork,” Adam said.

“We can be fourth-grade band and orchestra helpers,” said Avery.

“We can be PE pals,” said Molly.

Other ideas included mentoring fourth graders, eating lunch with their kindergarten buddies and helping to create clubs for after-school programs.

At the end of the meeting, two students from each class were chosen for their first leadership task of the year: helping out at the schoolwide welcome back assembly on Friday. The eight students who were chosen stayed with Valentine after the meeting to come up with behavior reminders for their younger schoolmates.

“We are aiming to remind everyone how to act appropriately,” Valentine told the group. “We will brainstorm eight sentences as a group, and you will each say one at the meeting.”

Fresh off their grade-wide discussion, students were up for the task.

“Respect the lunch teachers by listening to them,” one said.

“Never give up. Always try your hardest,” said another.

It will be exciting to see the ways students take what they spoke about at this meeting and turn it into action!

BVES Principal Smith talks with a group of 5th graders in the pole barn