Elisabeth Morrow School middle school students rallied on Dec. 9 to celebrate the school's commitment to "Respect and Responsibility."
In a show of unity and school spirit, teachers and students wore the school colors of green and white.
Eighth grade students Carter Hirschhorn and Joseph DeRose were the emcees of the event as student leaders from grades 5 through 8 led the school in cheers, songs and activities.
One of the activities was the assembly of a puzzle comprised of pieces each signed by a middle school student. The final puzzle, once assembled, spelled "Respect and Responsibility."
Providing character and moral guidance has been a hallmark of The Elisabeth Morrow School since it's inception in 1930.
For years, the school has rallied its students around its unofficial motto of the "4 C's": Consideration, Cooperation, Courtesy and Compassion.
Said teacher and advisory coordinator Joanne DiGirolamo: "We try to model Aristotle's belief that virtues are habits acquired by performing positive actions repeatedly. Our character-education program is centered on these core values (the 4 C's). Through discussion, related curricula and modeling behavior, students here have learned the importance of good character. We feel that the choices our students make about themselves and others ultimately shape them as responsible individuals and citizens in a global community."
Character education is embedded into the school's rigorous program.
Each student is appointed an advisor, who not only assists with organization and study skills, but also provides help in addressing more challenging ethical and social decisions and navigating peer relations.
Advisors at Elisabeth Morrow School provide a support system and are aware of their students' strengths and challenges.
Advisors meet with students on a daily basis as well as make contact with parents on a regular basis.
Aaron Cooper, assistant head of school (and head of school as of July 2012), said, "We have an obligation to teach our students how to manage their concerns within their community, but we also have to be attuned to when incidents need more careful guidance. It's a priority for our faculty here and we seek to work together to make sure everyone's health, safety and growth are attended to."
Building upon the advisory groups, Elisabeth Morrow also has established a weekly assembly, which acts as a forum for speakers, group discussion and the presentation of opportunities for participation within the community.
Elisabeth Morrow's middle school students have embraced these components of their education and risen to the occasion.
For example, within the school, the "Buddies" program enables middle school students to visit the School's Early Childhood Program to assist younger children with reading, puzzles and games.
As well, the School's Student Council organizes an annual carnival where the proceeds raised are given to a selected charity. Beyond the School's campus, EMS students participate in a number of efforts within the community.
For example, fifth-graders are working with Youth Counseling Services, currently collecting new pajamas for students who live in residence.
The sixth-graders are making "surgi-dolls" and activity books for children at the Pediatric Surgical Unit at Englewood Hospital.
The seventh-graders spearhead an annual school-wide food drive for the Center For Food Action and the eighth-graders, every other week, travel down the road and around the corner to work with youngsters at the D. A. Quarles Early Childhood Education Center.
For more than 80 years, The Elisabeth Morrow School has been committed to providing a full education for children articulated by the school's four core values and focused not only on the intellectual development, but also upon the social and character development of children.