Denman students get leadership lessons from community

Quincy Humane Society's Caroline Veihl cradles a kitten in Allison Ohnemus' kindergarten class at Denman Elementary School's "Leaders in the Workplace" event Tuesday. The students had informative breakout sessions with various visitors such as firefighters, linemen, authors, lawyers and EMTs. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 5, 2019 6:25 pm Updated: Feb. 5, 2019 6:29 pm

QUINCY -- Denman kindergartner Cooper Hamby says it's important to be a good leader -- for one important reason.

"You're almost in first grade," Cooper said.

Even as he gets older, Cooper knows there are ways he can be a good leader.

"Like helping people from getting stuck," he said.

More inspiration for Cooper and his classmates came Tuesday during the school's Leaders in the Workplace event featuring presentations for each grade level from community leaders.

Kindergarten teacher Pam Havermale said, "We just want to teach the kids about leadership in the community. We teach leadership here at school. We give them leadership jobs, and we want them to learn about what leadership means in the community."

For presenters, the day provided an opportunity to share some of their passion for leadership along with some good information for the students.

Caroline Veihl with the Quincy Humane Society taught the students about pet care, but her two furry friends, kittens named Hazelnut and Bagheera, got most of the attention.

"It's all about what to do for kittens to have a happy life, how to handle kittens properly and not hurt them," she said. "It's really important to start kids at a young age learning how much it takes to take care of an animal."

In Allison Ohnemus' class, students pulled pet care items from Veihl's bag, including a blanket and a litter scoop, and talked about how pets need many of the same things people do, including food, water and a place to sleep before getting a chance to meet the kittens.

Kindergartner Daphne Pray already understands that being helpful is one way to be a good leader.

"Listen to your teacher. Be safe," she added.

The firefighter speaking to her class also was a good leader because "he helps people if there's a fire," Daphne said.

Good leaders remember to say "please" and "thank you" -- and to ask for help when they need it.

Presenter Tracy Schlepphorst said, "When you need help, find an adult to talk to."

Schlepphorst, a local author, read to kindergartners from one of her books.

"I hope they take away they can do anything they want to do and they're responsible for their own happiness," Schlepphorst said. "Taking responsibility for your own happiness is empowerment in leadership."