7 Habits setting Warren County children up for success

Published 10:47 am Thursday, November 21, 2019

When I started my professional career, I was asked to read a book called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

The book takes you through seven habits that can help anyone be successful, whether you function as a member of a team, manage a team, manage a small business or lead a large firm in corporate America: 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.

After learning from the book and seeking to implement the habits in daily life, it was impressive to hear a fifth-grade Bowmar Elementary student recite the 7 Habits and describe why each one is important during a tour of the school with the Leadership Vicksburg class last week.

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Tatum Sherwin, who serves as a Bowmar tour guide through the Leader in Me Program, was impressive in more ways than just being able to recite the 7 Habits. She was energetic, personable, well-spoken and could maintain the interest and attention of her tour group. As a fifth-grader, she has already honed many life skills people well into adulthood struggle to master.

During the tour, Sherwin told me about a few different versions of the book I read as a recent college graduate: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and The Leader in Me, which is the version used by the Leader in Me Program at Bowmar.

Sherwin also described many aspects of the Bowmar Elementary School culture. She told us about the school’s WIGs, which stands for “Wildy Important Goals.” Their goals include tasks like increasing scores on statewide tests. She also told us about the school district’s desire for every child to graduate high school as one of the “four E’s: Enrolled, Enlisted, Employed or an Entrepreneur.” Sherwin’s goal is to be enrolled as she has aspirations to be an anesthesiologist.

Rumor has it that Covey himself, author of the 7 Habits book, went on a tour of Bowmar with Sherwin as his guide. She did such a good job that Covey offered her one, but she turned him down to fulfill her goal of going to college and starting a career in the medical field.

How impressive to see a fifth-grader who is already thinking about life after college. And how encouraging to see the same student setting goals, or WIGs, and tracking her steps to achieving them.

The Vicksburg Warren School District is often criticized for the D letter grade it received this year from the Mississippi Department of Education. The Leader in Me curriculum that is centered around character development has the ability to push that grade higher in the years to come. Bowmar, for example, received a B despite the lower grade given to the district as a whole. The Letter in Me program, which has been implemented in all schools in the district, shows that there truly is something great happening right here in Vicksburg with our education system. Just imagine a group of seniors graduating who had been taught the 7 Habits from elementary through high school.

Tours are given once a month and can be set up through the school district office. For those interested in our community’s education, consider taking one and learning more about the Leader in Me Program and the difference it can make in our children’s lives and our community.

About Catherine Hadaway

Catherine Hadaway, as The Vicksburg Post’s publisher, oversees the business operations of the newspaper. She is a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis where she earned bachelor’s degrees in Business and Religion. She is a Director of Boone Newsmedia, Inc., the family company that owns The Post. Catherine comes from a long line of newspaper publishers, starting with her grandfather, Buford Boone, who served as publisher of The Tuscaloosa News and earned journalism's highest honor when he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for his editorial titled "What a Price for Peace." Catherine is a member of The Rotary Club of Vicksburg, Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg, The Heritage Guild, The Sampler Antique Club and The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Executive Committee.

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