The Next Great Americans tour made its last Indiana stop today at Mount Healthy Elementary in Columbus, Indiana!
Yes, it is Monday. Yes, this program was first thing this morning...however, by the time it was over the Mount Healthy students were wide-awake and ready to take on the week! As I commented during the show, I doubt that any of them have ever sung a song that loud on a Monday morning! But, we definitely got their week started off with a bang!
We talked with Principal Jeff Backmeyer after the show. He was telling us how he liked the fact that the program recognizes past Great Americans and their accomplishments, but also that we emphasize how these Great Americans started out just like the students that we visit at elementary schools everywhere. That is one of the things that I think is so great (and unique) about our country. Americans have the opportunity to work hard and be successful even if they don’t begin life with lots of money or status. Americans can pursue what makes them happy, starting at nothing, and becoming great! This is something I believe is worth preserving, and it is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the Super Citizen Program and what it teaches.
Mr. Backmeyer also used to teach 4th & 5th grade, which is currently right where the Super Citizen Program is aimed (although, there are currently lessons being developed to continue this program through middle and high school). He said that when he saw what was included in the program, that it “hit home.” He knew that this would be perfect for the Mount Healthy students!
We had several homeschooling students visit us today! We were excited to see them at our show! I think that they will find the Super Citizen Program to be flexible enough to fit perfectly into their curriculum as well!
Thanks so much to Ms. Jennifer Justis for bringing The Next Great Americans Tour to Mount Healthy Elementary and to Mr. Backmeyer for welcoming us! We had a great time!
We are currently making the long journey through the mountains to Morganton, North Carolina where we will visit Mull Elementary!
On Wednesday we stopped in at East Washington Academy in Muncie, Indiana.
The first thing I got to see when I arrived was the wonderful Statue of Liberty artwork done by the East Washington students! Ms. Kristie Inman took me down the halls of the school to a display case full of drawings and other depictions of me done by students in all grade levels! But, here’s the interesting thing: the art teacher didn’t even know that I was coming to visit when she decided that I would be the subject for the art projects! The students did such a great job! There were even plaster “Statues of Liberty!” I loved getting to see such talent on display!
I have to say- it didn’t take much work to get the East Washington students excited! They were full of energy and enthusiasm! It is always so much fun to visit schools like this one. I know that they will enjoy the Super Citizen Program if they dive into it with as much enthusiasm as I saw while I was there!
Thank you to Ms. Inman for bringing us to East Washington and to Mr. Blakely for welcoming us to your school. Also, thank you to Coach Ron Howell & his “helpers” for your work in getting us loaded up to leave.
We had a very special guest, Ms. Brenda Brumfield, who is the Director of Community and Government Relations at the Muncie Chamber of Commerce! We were so glad she could be with us. She said that she was “fired up” about the program! We are too! We’re so happy we have the chance to spread the word to others around the country!
Next up, our last stop in Indiana: Mount Healthy Elementary in Columbus, IN!
The Next Great Americans tour stopped by Nora Elementary in Indianapolis, Indiana today!
We found out that Nora is a very unique and diverse school. Ms. Talbert, the music teacher and Ms. Zybert, the principal, shared with us how that there are students from 24 different countries at this school and 27 different languages are spoken among the students! That’s amazing! Ms. Talbert said that she really did feel that she has the opportunity to “teach the world to sing!”
Nora Elementary is also something called an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Candidate School. Ms. Zybert said that through the IB Primary Years Programme the students at Nora will get “inquiry-based learning opportunities through interdisciplinary units called ‘Programs of Inquiry’ (or POI’s).” Lots of big teacher-type words, right? Basically Ms. Zybert explained it this way: “through these “POI’s” students will have the opportunities to address questions about who we are as a society, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, and how we organize ourselves in sharing the planet.” She said that the show today and the Super Citizen Program tied really well into 5th grade state standards in US history, and that the students could truly connect to the “learning opportunity” that our program presents! Both Ms. Talbert and Ms. Zybert thought that a program that teaches what it means to be an American is very useful for this diverse group of students, many of whom have only been in the US for 2 or 3 years. Ms. Talbert said that they truly know what it is like to come in search of freedom.
Again today, when I mentioned the tour anthem “You in the U.S.A.” I could see the recognition and excitement on the student’s faces because Ms. Talbert had taught the song to the students before the show today! She said that these students will be doing a musical about the writing of the U.S. Constitution in November! I wish so much that I could be here to see that. I’m sure it will be wonderful! What a great and inspirational topic! She also told me that the students so loved “You in the U.S.A.” that they wanted to perform that song outside of class as well! They certainly did a great job of singing it during the program today! I hope that they will get the opportunity to sing it elsewhere!
We also had a good number of special guests at the show today! We were so glad to have Col. Jill Chambers of the US Army, Mr. Michael Peterson who is a songwriter and motivational speaker from Nashville, TN, Dr. Nikki Woodson- Superintendent of Washington Township Schools, and Mr. William Turner & Ms. Cheri Harris from the Washington Township School Board! It was also great to have a few people from the Liberty Learning Foundation offices in Huntsville with us today!
Tomorrow we are off to East Washington Academy in Muncie, Indiana!
Well, I have been humming a certain Beach Boys song all day today as we visited Kokomo, Indiana! :) We stopped by Taylor Intermediate School, and visited with some awesome students and teachers!
Principal Stan Williams gave us a warm welcome this morning, and helped to introduce the program. It was a pleasure meeting Mr. Williams who told us how he was initially interested in the Super Citizen Program because of the citizenship and character building aspects. Then, when he found out about the patriotic aspect as well, that was an added bonus! Mr. Williams even laid out the kit in the room where we held the presentation so that the teachers could stop by and examine the contents, which include great Scholastic books, a DVD, Statue of Liberty crowns for the students, and much, much more!
After the show I again got the opportunity to answer lots of questions from the 5th grade classes. I always love to hear the students questions! Many of the students, just like the teachers, wanted to know what was in the Super Citizen Kit that their school had obtained. If you would like to know more about this Super Citizen program that I talk (and write) so much about, just follow this link to get started: http://libertyslegacy.com/patriotic-products/super-citizen-program-kit-inspires-super-citizens
We were so glad to have special gues Jeff Keller from the Taylor Community School Corporation school board. He not only visited with us, but he also helped to get me out of my crate, which I am always grateful for! It’s dark in there!
And thank you to Principal Williams for bringing us to Taylor Intermediate! We had a great time!
Tomorrow our tour makes a stop in Indianapolis, Indiana at Nora Elementary!
Yesterday, the Next Great Americans tour bus traveled through lots more cornfields, and even a huge windmill farm! For several miles we saw giant windmills filling the fields on both sides of the interstate as far as the eye could see! It was quite a sight to see, and even quite beautiful in its own way.
Today we stopped by Fieler Elementary in Merrillville, Indiana. Principal Lisa Patrick kicked things off for us. She also shared with us how Fieler Elementary was chosen by the state of Indiana as one of 6 emerging model sites for the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support) program. The faculty is being trained extensively so that by the 2013-14 school year, other schools can visit and learn all about PBIS and see all 3 Tiers of the program in action.
Many of the students at Fieler asked about the Statue of Liberty replicas in the Super Citizen kits. They wanted to know how they could get one of their own. Inside those replicas, there are actual materials from when I was first built in France!
Thank you to Ms. Celia Pollard for bringing us to Fieler, and thank you to Ms. Patrick for all of your help and for welcoming our team to your school. It was a pleasure to visit with everyone at Fieler!
Tomorrow we are off to Jackson Intermediate in South Bend, Indiana!
Yesterday we traveled through lots, and lots, and lots of cornfields to get to Lafayette, Indiana. It was lovely to see all of the farms, tractors, silos and farm houses along the way as the trees started to show their first signs of the changing season. It was such a nice glimpse of Americana in the true heartland of our country!
We visited two schools today. The first school was Amelia Earhart Elementary, of course named after the famous American aviatrix. The school was named after her because she attended Purdue University, which is “just across the river” from Earhart Elementary!
We got to Earhart bright and early this morning and were greeted by third grade teacher, Ms. Kim Whitchurch. Ms. Whitchurch told us about a big unit that she teachers her class about me- The Statue of Liberty! Earhart also emphasizes citizenship curriculum in their school, so the Super Citizen Program could not be more perfect for fulfilling both of these goals! The first section of the Super Citizen Program is about me and my history. But, just as all other parts of the program, it is not only “history.” There are technology, math, and even P.E. lessons that are Lady Liberty-themed! And that’s just the first section of the program! Other sections include lessons that are Financial Literacy-themed, Character-Building, Honoring Veterans and others. Each of these sections have flexible, cross-curricular lessons designed to inspire the students to become Super Citizens!
Next we visited Edgelea Elementary where Principal Alicia Clevenger made sure everything was running smoothly! Edgelea is the biggest elementary school in the Lafayette Schools System! We had a great time with the 3rd & 4th graders, which made a big group by themselves! We were also glad to have special guests Mike Heinz and Mikel Livingston from the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Thanks so much to Ms. Whitchurch and Ms. Clevenger for all your work in helping us and bringing us to Lafayette!
Tomorrow we go even further north to Merrillville, Indiana and Henry Fieler Elementary School!
Hello, American Midwest! Today we visited Fairlawn Elementary in Evansville, Indiana!
The first thing we noticed at Fairlawn was the college and university banners hanging throughout the school. Fairlawn is part of a nationwide program called No Excuses University. They start preparing the students for college in elementary school! We also saw essays on the wall written by the students that told why they wanted to go to college after graduating high school! That’s thinking ahead!
The next thing we noticed was the big, beautiful auditorium! I have been to several elementary schools and I have never seen an auditorium this big in any of them. What a nice facility for the students at Fairlawn!
After the show I once again got the opportunity to talk to some of the students and answer their questions! They had some really great questions for me. I know that they are all excited to begin the Super Citizen Program!
We appreciate Mrs. Deborah Hughes for bringing us to Fairlawn, Mrs. Kelly for getting the program started today, and Principal Lisa Hale for having us at your school!
We were also excited to have some special guests today: Ms. Courtney Goad and Ms. Treda Obanor from the Fairlawn PTA and Ms. Sandra Matthews from the Our Times Newspaper in Evansville!
We had several helpers that helped us load in and out today. Thank you to all of them as well!
We are heading north tomorrow to Edgelea and Amelia Earhart Elementary in Lafayette, IN!