UNION, NJ – On Wednesday, May 23, Jefferson School hosted its second annual Leadership Day. 

Leadership Day is a day fully run by students; from choosing the decorations, entertainment, hosting duties and deciding on this year’s theme “Knights United.”  On this day, students showcased their leadership skills and celebrated their hard work throughout the year.

When guests arrived at the school, students escorted them to the cafeteria where they were served breakfast.  Guests included Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan, Union County Freeholder Vernell Wright, township Committee member Manual Figueiredo, several members of the Board of Education, including President Ronald McDowell and Vice President Nancy Zuena, administrators from around the district, and visiting teachers who were eager to learn more about the program.

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From there, guests were taken to the cultural fashion show where students walked their way down the red carpet in clothes from all different countries.  Once that was complete, guests were given about half an hour to look at the tables that were set up that focused on different clubs or subjects in the school.  Students further explained the clubs or subjects they were presenting.

After that, a tour of the fabulous Jefferson School was given, followed by performances in the school’s auditorium.  Performances including an Indial stick dance, a Brazilian martial arts dance called Capoeira along with instruments playing to the beat and finally, a performance by the Jefferson Vocal Ensemble.

A fifth grader shared, “Leadership Day was a very fun day because we got to show off all the fun things we learned this year.  My favorite part was the cultural fashion show because everyone had amazing outfits!”

Joshua Forest added, “My favorite part of Leadership Day was seeing the face on the adults when they saw the student presentation stations and I also liked the Leadership Day performances.  This day is very unique because the students run the day.  This made me feel great and empowered!”

Teacher Kelly Piano stated, “Leadership Day is a chance for students to practice their leadership skills, show fellow educators the impact of The Leader in Me, and engage the community.  The students use the opportunity to practice skills such as organizing, planning, teamwork, and public speaking.  In addition, the day affords students a chance to share their academic successes and other talents.

The Leader in Me program is a whole-school transformation that empowers students with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.  Leadership is taught directly to the students as well as integrated with everyday lessons.  Students look for ways to use their talents to better the school community.  We were very grateful to our local sponsors for their generous donations, specifically Trader Joe’s, Chick-fil-A, Bagel Spot, Cozy Corner, Dunkin Donuts, ShopRite and Costco.  We look forward to seeing all of our guests return next year for another wonderful Leadership Day.”


Article written by Jefferson fifth grader Kate Sousa.