By KATHY CHANG
OLD BRIDGE — The dynamic synergy of the students, Principal Joanne Kowit and staff at St. Thomas the Apostle School was felt during the school’s second annual Leadership Day.
The students, who are in pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, shared their talents, skills, experience and insight as to how to be effective leaders in the world today as part of the Leader in Me program.
Teacher Catherine Draeger, who served as the student leadership coordinator, said the students took the lead and worked together with the guidance of the teachers and staff.
“It was all the students,” Draeger said.
The Leader in Me, according to its website, is a whole-school transformation model and process developed in partnership with educators that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. Leadership Day at St. Thomas the Apostle School was part of the process of being a licensed Leader in Me School.
A component of the Leader in Me program was to involve the surrounding community in the process. On Feb. 3, the students presented their final presentation with songs, dance and empowering monologues.
The final song and dance number was Will.I.Am’s hit “#ThatPower” featuring Justin Bieber, which had parents on their feet and many dancing.
Eighth grader Veronica Faustino choreographed the dance number for her fellow classmates.
Many students said putting together the performance brought many of them closer together and that they all worked as a team.
Eighth grader Maria Dimian said the event gave everyone a chance to take a leadership role to express their talents.
Sixth grader Kylie Lucas, who recently transferred to St. Thomas, said she made so many friends by working on this performance.
“It felt like I have always belonged here,” she said.
Eighth grader Farid Estefan worked with teacher Tom Deluca to find different music for the performance. He said he and his classmates practiced and rehearsed many hours, sometimes four hours straight.
Dignitaries Sen. Sam Thompson (R-Middlesex) and Mayor Owen Henry joined in the festivities.
Henry, an alumnus of St. Thomas, said he was proud of the students and staff, adding that he and his sisters received a great education at the school.
For more information, visit theleaderinme.org.
Contact Kathy Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org.