'The tip of the journey': Blessed Sacrament receives Lighthouse school status

Blessed Sacrament School eighth-graders, from left, Sam Warning, Jacob Mayfield and Jack Lucey carry a banner touting the school's new designation as a "Lighthouse" school during a pep assembly Wednesday in the school gym. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)
Posted: Dec. 5, 2012 11:27 am Updated: Dec. 19, 2012 12:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Chris Reichert said while Wednesday morning's announcement that Blessed Sacrament School has been named a Lighthouse school by FranklinCovey Inc. will spur instant gratification, the positive trickle-down effects for the community will resonate in years to come.

"This is actually just the tip of the journey," said Reichert, the school principal.

Blessed Sacrament is just the 29th school worldwide to reach Lighthouse status, a process that began seven years ago through a United Way-funded concept that saw a panel of community educators elect to offer schools in Adams County the chance to incorporate the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." The idea was to better prepare students to be leaders and deal with everyday life as they mature and grow.

"When this all started, the group was looking for a way to be proactive within schools to help develop a stronger community," said Reichert, who has worked in the Quincy Catholic school system for 23 years. "Our staff and students, some of whom are now at Quincy Notre Dame High School, bought into it wholeheartedly."

To reach Lighthouse status -- the highest level of the Seven Habits process -- a school must meet 146 criteria and be certified by FranklinCovey. The Seven Habits were designed by the late StephenCovey, founder of the Utah-based professional services company FranklinCovey. The various habits deal with principles of character.

Covey died earlier this year at age 79, but his Seven Habits have become famous around the world. Former President Bill Clinton even had Covey help integrate the habits into his presidency.

Representatives from FranklinCovey will be in Quincy in late January to make an official presentation. The company has been working with Blessed Sacrament throughout the detailed process.

"We'll bring down the house that day," Reichert said.

Blessed Sacrament is the first school in Illinois -- and the first Catholic school in the U.S. -- to be named a Lighthouse school. Reichert said she has been hearing from Catholic educators across the nation since news began leaking out that Blessed Sacrament had attained Lighthouse status.

FranklinCovey is working with 1,029 schools worldwide, but only a handful will try to attain Lighthouse status.

"This has been seven years in the making, and the staff and students should be congratulated," said Monsignor Michael Kuse. "This is an exciting day."

Cheryl Waterman, executive director of the Unied Way of Adams County, said Blessed Sacrament has done a "wonderful job" reaching Lighthouse status. She said developing future community leaders was the idea behind using the Seven Habits, and the staff at Blessed Sacrament should be commended.

Sharon Terwelp, a fifth-grade teacher at Blessed Sacrament, said the habits emphasize "being a light" to the rest of the world, which fits perfectly into the tenets of Catholic faith taught at the school.

"That is one of the main reasons we were so interested in doing this," Terwelp said.

The Seven Habits are part of daily life at Blessed Sacrament, and four times a week, the entire student body gathers to discus specific areas of the principles involved.

The body of Blessed Sacrament students heard the news at an assembly this morning and responded with a rousing ovation.

"We've been working for several years for this," said Adam Kirkpatrick, a fourth-grader.

Another fourth-grader, Katie Schuecking, may have best expressed the school's collective feeling.

"Oh, my gosh!" she exclaimed.





A summary of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven R. Covey:

º Be proactive: Change starts from within. Don't wait for external stimuli.

º Begin with the end in mind: Develop a mission statement; base long-term goals based on personal principles.

º First things first: Identify important roles you take on in life, and make time for each of them.

º Think win-win: Aim for agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial.

º Seek first to understand, then to be understood: Put yourself in the other person's place, listening for both feeling and meaning.

º Build trust, create synergy: Individual differences can create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

º Sharpen the saw: Renew yourself physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.