Eagle Point Elementary Students Soar for Spirit Sticks

Deputy del Sol recognizes third grader Adrian Ortiz

Students at Eagle Point Elementary School proudly display their Spirit Sticks on their backpacks. These brightly-colored embroidered patches serve as tangible reminders of positive character and leadership traits such as kindness, citizenship, effort and initiative.

The school administration and the Eagle Point Elementary Foundation (parent volunteer organization and fundraising arm) introduced the program this year as a way to foster a positive and rewarding school environment. Spirit Sticks are being used to support the school’s Leader in Me program as well as the school district’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) initiative.

“The goal is that the Spirit Sticks will motivate students to develop self-discipline and self-confidence as well as recognize the contributions of others,” explains Eagle Point Foundation President Sophia LoMonaco. “Spirit Sticks serve as positive, descriptive acknowledgements that remind students to choose responsibility not only for themselves but with others in mind.”

Spirit Sticks also promote leadership, something the school has been teaching for the past five years as a Leader in Me school. Based on Steven Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, the program empowers students to demonstrate leadership qualities at a young age. The seven leadership habits are: be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win-win; seek first to understand, then to be understood; synergize; and sharpen the saw.

“Students who display these habits in extraordinary ways throughout their day are awarded Spirit Sticks,” explains Principal Christine de Zayas.

To start the school year, each student was given a custom made “EPE Great Happens Here” Spirit Stick. Children can earn additional Spirit Sticks for good behavior. Students can be recognized not only by their teachers but also by administrators, front office staff, the school resource officer, cafeteria employees, and custodial employees.

Assistant Principal Kizzy Dailey awarded her first Spirit Stick to fifth grader Matthew Magette. She says the safety patrol officer is the epitome of a student leader. “He is consistently on time to his morning post. Matthew makes sure our kindergarten students get to class safety and quickly. We even have kindergarteners who prefer to walk to class with him in the mornings.”

The Spirit Stick program extends beyond school. “The Eagle Point Foundation supports families’ use of Spirit Stick Parent Packs to reinforce responsible decision-making skills and valued character traits such as being a good friend, honesty, and a positive attitude,” explains LoMonaco. “Students may also purchase Spirit Sticks to reflect their goals and interests. This encourages self-expression and setting goals for oneself.”