Calvert High School celebrated its first-ever CommUNITY Day on May 2, a day-long event that presented students with the opportunity to bond through music, arts, sports and games.
The students were also educated about the powerfulness of self-belief and the ability to move past personal challenges to do the extraordinary.
Kevin “Atlas” Laue spoke about being born missing half of his left arm and overcoming adversity to become the first player missing a limb to play NCAA Division I collegiate basketball.
“Raise your hand if you want to have an impact on [someone’s] life,” Laue said to the Calvert High student body.
“I know what you’re thinking guys: ‘I can’t do that. I’m not a 7-foot, one-armed guy,’” Laue scoffed, encouraging them to stretch themselves and to be leaders.
Laue told the student body that everyone likes positive recognition and challenged them to support their peers and to attend events they do not normally attend.
“The kids really bought into it,” Calvert Assistant Principal Catherine Sutton said. “The students just loved it.”
Sutton said as a result, the football and the band have committed to crossover events to support each other. She said Laue also made an impression on the faculty during a separate meeting, as he talked about how teachers have a powerful impact on students and how teachers influenced and motivated him.
As for the impetus for the event, Sutton said all year long Calvert High students have been doing social emotional learning through the “Believe In You” program, a video series designed to educate students and staff about the power of believing in oneself despite trials and hardships.
Sutton said this is the first year the school has used the video series, and that she credits the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support student leaders for organizing and planning the day’s events.
“It’s a way to hear from speakers and bond as a school community,” Sutton said, referring to CommUNITY Day and its reinforcement of the “Believe in You” and PBIS principles. “They love it.”
PBIS is a school-wide system that teaches and models appropriate behaviors to the school community. This year, Calvert High has 60 student leaders. Nearly 100 students are waiting to be trained this summer as new student leaders.
Calvert’s PBIS group holds monthly advisory classes that are student led. Some of the lessons include character building, anti-bullying, and behavioral expectations.
Sutton said CommUNITY Day will be an annual event at the school to reward and reinforce positive behaviors as well as allow students to connect with one another.