Students learn life skills through morning greetings

By JENNIFER KAYHOE 
Special to Leader-Press

Fifth grader Raigan Hamilton arrives to school long before most other students. She quickly gets into her vest and moves out to her post in the school drive-way, eagerly waiting for the first car to arrive. 
Hamilton is one of the Martin Walker Greeter Leaders and is there to open the car door for students, welcome them with a smile, and ensure their day is off to a good start.
The greeter leaders are 5th grade students who volunteer to welcome all students and families in the morning, tutor students needing help with their studies, assist teachers, and make the morning announcements. The students learn numerous ways to greet other from the traditional handshake to the popular, modern fist bump. 
Hamilton became a greeter leaders to make a difference for her school and classmates.
“To me, I like coming to school to put on my vest and helping kids out of the car,” Hamilton said. “I’m going to set an example by being caring, helpful and helping someone who might be sad.”
School counselor Pearline Walker says to be a greeter leader, students have to keep their grades up and make positive behavior choices. 
“The students help make a difference in our school by being kind, caring and responsible. We are trying to give students leadership skills,” Walker said. “Every student deserves to be greeted with a smile and kind words.”
For many students, being a greeter leader is a great accomplishment and reward for their academic and behavioral success. Some of the younger students even view them as role models, Walker said, and hope to be greeter leaders when they are in 5th grade. 
Outside of school, the greeter leader program encourages students to use their learned leadership tactics to greet others. By using proper techniques such as making eye contact and smiling, the students are learning life skills. It teaches students to be kind to others and about the impact their character may have on others. 

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