At Horace Mann Elementary School, the grand old flag has a brand new look.
Everyone at the school — all the students, all the teachers and the entire staff — has been photographed and included in an American flag that has become a focal point for Horace Mann’s Positive Behavior Support program. Students were paired up for pictures to create the stripes, and there were just the right number of faculty and staff for the 50 stars.
“The kids love it,” said guidance counselor Amy Dunkin. “They love being displayed and looking for their photo.”
Nancy Tempel, an aide interventionist who leads the school’s PBS program, said they went class by class photographing the students “and you can really tell which photos include close friends. Their heads are closer together and they are smiling bigger.”
The flag was created over a couple of days and was displayed in time for parent-teacher conferences last week. Tempel said students brought their parents down the hallway that leads to the gym to make certain they got to see the flag. Dunkin added that people have come into the school just to check out the flag.
Typically, the school’s fall class parties are tied into Halloween. But this year, with Halloween already passed, the faculty decided to tie together the PBS program, the upcoming election, the annual anti-drug Red Ribbon Week and the school’s character education initiatives for the celebrations, which took place Friday. The character word for November is citizenship, so as part of those parties, students also took part in a mock election.
On Friday morning, Peggy Moriarity scanned the flag to find the photo of her granddaughter, Emma Pettigrew, who is in the mixed-age class.
“They are all so good-looking,” Moriarity said.
Emma, who was
photographed with her best friend, Paige Abney, for the flag, said she looks for her picture every time she passes by.
“It’s pretty cool that we’re on the American flag,” she said.
In a statement about effort, Tempel wrote that the flag “represents the unity in our school. We are a family committed to teaching and learning how building good character is just as important as academic achievement.”
The character education program carries a superheroes theme, Tempel said, because it is a concept students can relate to. The statement notes that “just like our favorite superheroes, students have powerful roles to play in creating a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.”
“We’ve stressed that they have a super job to do,” she said. “Character integrity is as important as academics.”