`I thought you'd be boring'

Kids! Hollifield Station pupils offer the lieutenant governor a candid lesson on character education.

May 22, 2002|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend stopped by Hollifield Station Elementary School yesterday and got a lesson in leadership from a group of pupils who have made a careful study of the concept.

"You can't be a good leader and be boring," said 10-year-old Brandon Earle, who is in fifth grade.

Later, Brandon confided to Townsend: "I thought you'd be boring, but when I heard you had four children, I was like, OK."

Hollifield Station, in Ellicott City, has been named Maryland Character Education School of the Year for 2001-2002 by the Maryland Center for Character Education.

Along the hallways of the school, pupils listed leadership traits they thought were important, such as being goal-oriented, a good listener and open to others.

Townsend said she was impressed that the children had included having a sense of humor and a positive attitude.

"Can you think of a time when it was difficult to show leadership?" Townsend asked a group of pupils.

"When you really know something, and you just want to let it out," Brandon shot back.

In a first-grade classroom, about 20 pupils demonstrated how they praise one another as they sat in a circle and took turns complimenting classmates for efforts ranging from sharing a jump rope during recess to being a good friend.

Towsend is pushing character education in her gubernatorial campaign - teaching children basic values and ethics such as respect, responsibility, tolerance and honesty.

She said she hopes more people will visit Hollifield Station Elementary to learn how to implement character education programs.

"I loved being at your school," Townsend told the children. "You made me understand how you've helped character education."

The pupils were equally appreciative.

"I was glad that other people think our school is as nice as we think it is," said 11-year-old Mahila Amjad, who is in fifth grade.

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