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Mary Street PS students recognized

A few of the past Leadership Hoodie Program winners from Mary Street Public School are (left to right) Jacob, Autumn, Dallas, Teja, and Malik. (Photo courtesy of Durham District School Board)

Students from Mary Street Public School are being recognized for their good deeds and leadership shown not only while at school, but also during distance learning.

The Leadership Program starts at the beginning of the school year and ends in May with three phases: school jobs, leadership camp and the leadership hoodie program.

The first phase involved students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 applying for jobs around the school. This could be the front desk assistant, birthday greeter, or even being a member of the clean-up crew. The students are then interviewed for the job.

In the second phase, the students attend a two-day leadership camp where they explore personal leadership growth and are given group responsibilities.

The final phase is the leadership hoodie program in which the successful students’ names are put into a draw that is done twice monthly between January and May.

“If the student’s name is pulled, it’s checked to see if they meet the following specific criteria: 1) has a student job and does it well, 2) shows personal growth socially, behaviourally or academically, and 3) positively influences others,” says Mary Street PS Principal Justin Abdelkerim.

The community is involved in this initiative as well, with Whitby Mazda donating $50 to purchase each of the hoodies, and Steve’s Leather Fashions in Oshawa customized each hoodie with the name of each student printed on it.

The program has helped students to think about how they could help others and has been a rewarding experience for them.

“I thought one day someone looked upset at recess,” says Grade 3 student and winner Malik. “They said they ‘had no one to play with and had no friends,’ so then I played with them,” she adds.

Grade 4 student Teja adds, “It just changes you, it settles you to be a better version of yourself.”

Abdelkerim says it’s great to see the kids at his school stepping up.

“When I see kids intentionally stepping up and being more than they thought they could be – it’s an amazing feeling,” he says. “We as educators are trying to do what we are meant to do – to get our kids to develop their potential. The reward in seeing that growth in kids is immeasurable.”