LEICESTER, Mass. — Inside Leicester Middle School, students are building a chain to connect more than 400 of their New Year's resolutions, and along with the way, the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are building their own characters as well.
The chain project is just one part of the reinvigorated Character Education Program at Leicester Middle School, according to principal Jennifer Sauter.
So far, 15 of 28 classrooms at the school have added their resolutions to the chain, with each student and teacher submitting a link of his or her own.
"It serves as a physical reminder of what they resolved to do," said Sauter.
Each month, students have also been focusing on new traits, such as responsibility, compassion and gratitude, to strengthen their characters both as students and people.
As a way to spotlight the positive values, a pair of students from each grade level who exemplify the selected qualities are honored as Students of the Month, Sauter said.
In addition to having their photos placed on the student of the month wall, their parents are invited in to join the honorees for a breakfast.
In another project, students focused on empathy and sympathy, creating a display that considered what it would like to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.
The program's goal is to build on the whole child's experience, so they understand the character traits and are able to pass on those values, Sauter said.
The program also works as a hook for students, she said, infusing the characteristics of being both a good student and human being "to take with them into the high school and adulthood."