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TRIWAY DISTRICT -- Shreve Elementary School reversed the model of older students mentoring younger students when a group of core Leader in Me students walked Triway High School boys and girls track team members through developing a Wildly Important Goal and outlining a plan for reaching it.
"Here's an opportunity that we can set goals and use our teammates as (accountability) coaches," Coach Mark Shutler told athletes gathered in the Triway High School library to hear the presentation by the 14 fourth- through sixth-grade students on the Shreve Elementary Student Lighthouse Team -- part of the Leader in Me initiative in the Triway district.
This group of students was "trained on the four disciplines of execution for writing a WIG," Shreve fifth-grade teacher Kara Shutler said. "So far, they have shared this knowledge by training our entire student body in this life-changing skill of writing and tracking measurable goals."
"Every teacher has a WIG," Shutler told the throwers, sprinters and distance runners charged with coming up with WIGs of their own, related to objectives to improve their athletic performance.
Shutler shared her WIG, which is to have lesson materials prepared a week in advance.
Every student has one as well; for example, Kalie Campbell had put together a complicated spread sheet for saving pennies each day so that she can accumulate a total of more than $600 by December of 2017.
"I know how much I have to add each day," she said, adding, "I like to save."
Up first on the agenda for the track teams was a video of tips from Sean Covey, son of Steven Covey, whose "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" inspired the Leader in Me program.
Each of the four "disciplines" in choosing and attaining a WIG, Covey said on the video, not surprisingly "requires discipline."
"We want to throw the 'game on' switch," Covey said.
Zack Miller and Kayla Golias, sixth grade; and Livia Grabowksi and Drew Bishko, fifth grade, presented the first discipline -- how to choose a WIG and then track it on a timeline.
Handling the second discipline, selecting and acting upon strategies that will make the biggest impact on WIG achievement, were Jaymes Gilbert and Zoey Radford, sixth grade; Makenzee Hamilton, fifth grade; and Addison Hudson, fourth grade.
Keeping score, the third discipline, was instructed by Tyler Zimmerly, fifth grade; and Nat Broughton, sixth grade.
"Is it simple? Is it fun? Does it show progress?" Broughton gave as helpful hints for charting incremental achievement.
Katie Campbell and Grace Perman, sixth grade; and Kara Steiner, fourth grade, "huddled up" for the fourth discipline -- selecting an accountability partner.
Throughout the process, Kara Shutler said, "It's not 'I want to;' it's 'I will.' Don't set yourself up for something you're not going to do," such as pledging to do something seven days a week or tying oneself to an accountability partner who is not available.
"Everyone's deadline is 12 weeks," she added to accentuate the purpose behind the exercise.
Triway High School student Sadie Gehring's form summarized a WIG to "drop my 800 time to 2:30 and drop my mile time." She listed her strategies as "push during workouts, don't give up; work on my form; be consistent."
Leader in Me is an opportunity for students to learn leadership qualities and good work habits, while building confidence and character.
Kara Shutler reminded the high school student athletes what a feat it was for the elementary school students to reverse the roles and become their mentors.
"It took a ton of courage," she told them.
Reporter Linda Hall can be reached at 330-264-1125, ext. 2230, or firstname.lastname@example.org. She is @lindahallTDR on Twitter.