Learning to lead themselves in order to lead others helped North Platte Catholic Schools students build personal character and re-establish skills of interacting with peers.
NPCS introduced sixth, seventh and ninth graders and a small group of 12th graders to a curriculum called Habitudes. It is a new leadership and social/emotional curriculum created by Dr. Tim Elmore and purchased through a grant from the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation.
The program began in January and was completed Tuesday. Next year the program will be expanded to include sixth through 12th grades, said Moriah Eickhoff, K-12 school counselor.
“We just felt that especially with the pandemic, that some of these skills were starting to lack a little bit in our students,” Eickhoff said, “especially just knowing their own emotions, knowing what to do with those emotions and how to interact with their peers after having quite a bit of time without peers.”
At the beginning of the school year, Eickhoff said, there was a time of transition coming back into the school after the extended time off.
“This curriculum really looks at responsibility, building character, being good people, personal growth,” Eickhoff said. “Self-care — how do we take care of ourselves so we can be effective leaders for others too.”
She said students had to undergo a social adjustment.
“Just to be comfortable and work together seemed to be a little more difficult than it had prior,” Eickhoff said.
There was a lot of fear involving the pandemic, she said.
“So what do we do with that fear, how do we express that in a healthy way,” Eickhoff said, “while also staying committed to the things we’re here to do, as far as school and obligations there.”
Being a Catholic school, Eickhoff said, they wanted to give the program a faith-based component as well.
“We partnered with Father Mark Seiker at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and he helped identify a saint that exemplified each lesson,” Eickhoff said. “Deacon Matt Irish (St. Patrick High School principal) comes each week to present a short talk on each saint to the class.”
Irish taught how that saint showed the “Habitudes” for whatever lesson the students were learning for the week.
“The curriculum is about connecting your habits and attitudes to be effective leaders and be healthy socially and emotionally,” Eickhoff said. “(Elmore’s) premise is that by adjusting our attitudes to things and then creating habits, that those will be long-lasting and help our youth become effective leaders.”
Eickhoff said students have responded favorably to the program.
“It teaches you valuable life lessons that you learn from and in the future you can use,” student Ashley Gartner said. “It’s like having leadership over certain things that you feel like you can take control over as well.”
Student Peyton Kramer said he learned about following through.
One thing he learned “was just responsibility and keeping your stuff up to date,” Peyton said, “and having all your homework done and just doing what your parents say and your teachers say.”
Ashley said if you respect others, “they’ll treat you how you want to be treated as well.”
“(Leadership) is like doing the right thing when no one’s looking,” Peyton said.
Eickhoff said the students have been interactive.
“I think it’s a nice outlet for them to have discussion about some of this and some self-reflection,” Eickhoff said. “What kind of person do I want to be and how do I want to interact with my world? I think it’s been good.”
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