Moss Bluff Elementary preparing next generation of leaders

Published 4:14 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

Members of the Moss Bluff Elementary Leadership team sure do clean up nice.

The group spent Sunday afternoon picking up litter along Sam Houston Jones Parkway, breaking into three groups to clean the half-mile between Dynamic Dimensions and Advance Auto Parts.

“The purpose of the group is to make students understand that we need leadership roles in the community — and a lot more goes into it than just the everyday stuff,” team sponsor Tracey Pearce, who is also the school’s librarian, said. “It takes a lot to be a leader — both in their school and in the community.”

Email newsletter signup

The 21 students — decked out in blue and purple tie-dyed shirts with the slogan “Student Leadership is out of this World” emblazoned on the back — filled eight contractor-sized trash bags within an hour.

“I think this really opened the kids’ eyes because as you’re walking by or driving by, you don’t actually see any trash,” she said. “It’s not until you get in there that they were like, ‘Oh my gosh, look at all these pieces of paper, look at the cigarette butts, look at the bottles.’ ”

Fellow teacher Shellie Norris — the school’s Teacher of the Year — helped chaperone the event and said in addition to cleaning their community the students learned how to work together.

“They also got to interact with other students who might not be in their classes and develop new friendships,” Norris said.

Students in Leadership are selected based on test scores, grade-point average and overall behavior. The students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain a member.

Other activities the students have completed this school year were making posters to line the school walls during Women’s History Month and Black History Month; inviting friends and family to Sam Houston Jones State Park for National Take a Hike Day; providing snacks for area first responders; collecting canned goods over the holidays for area halfway houses; teaching their younger peers Cajun-style dancing during Louisiana Day festivities; and hosting bingo at an area care center.

The group will be also assisting at the Calcasieu Parish School Board’s special needs carnival on Wednesday.

“All of the students have a designated post and they’ll be running the entrance and running the games,” Pearce said.

Teacher Gabrielle Guidry said it’s easy to spot students at the school who are on Leadership.

“They always try to help out without being asked,” she said. “They want to take on that role.”

Guidry said it’s important to teach these 10- and 11-year-olds to be engaged now so they will continue to be leaders in their community as they grow older.

“A true leader is someone who does the right thing when no one is looking,” Norris said. “And these students are already learning that.”