Eleven North Adams pupils participated in the book project.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Storey Publishing unveiled a new book about leadership this week that was written by 11 students from Brayton, Greylock and Colegrove elementary schools.
Students involved in the after-school community service learning project program gathered at Storey's headquarters on the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art campus on Monday with family, teachers and Storey staff to reveal "The Road to Leadership" that features biographies on known leaders as well as interviews with local and school leaders.
"Kids have a voice more so then we think, and I think that they wanted to get their message out to community leaders and school leaders," said Noella Carlow, the site coordinator for the North Adams Public School's 21st Century After-School Programs. "The thought was put all of this into a book that all could read, and maybe more children and adults would be inspired to become leaders."
Carlow said this is NAPS second year working with Storey and leadership was the focus of this project.
The children in the 21st Century after-school leadership club first researched historical figures and wrote a quick paragraph about them and why they are considered a great leader. Leaders ranged from Martin Luther King Jr. to George Washington to seat belt inventor Nils Bohlin.
These bios were followed by interviews with local leaders such Police Lt. Jason Wood, retired teacher James Holmes, City Councilor Benjamin Lamb, Brayton Principal John Franzoni, program coordinator of the North Adams Chamber of Commerce Ricco Fruscio and many more.
Students asked pointed questions such as: What is the definition of a good leader? What habits did you practice when you were growing up? And have you ever made a bad choice?
Students also wrote a quick bio on themselves.
Storey Production Director Caroline Burch said the students visited Storey on two occasions in May and during the first visit they met individually with editors who helped them clean up their writing – as they would with any other writer.
On their second visit, students met with Storey designers who helped them pick out the font and color palette and showed them how to place photos in their individual sections.
"Because of that you will see that each section that the students did is so different than the others, which is really unique," designer Michaela Jebb said. "The designers just clicked buttons the student really did it on their own."
After this, the book was sent out to be printed.
Before handing out the books to the students, Carlow made a note to say a few words about who the book was dedicated to – Brayton first-grade teacher Elizabeth "Ebbie" Patenaude.
"Three years ago, Mrs. Patenaude came to me with an idea, and if you know anything about Mrs. Patenaude she is always thinking about ways to help children," Carlow said. "She had this idea for children to practice some basic goal-setting habits. She thought all children could benefit academically, socially and emotionally."
These habits are listed in the book embedded in Patenaude's interview -- they include being proactive, begin with the end in mind, think win-win, synergize and seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Carlow said these goal-setting habits and language have become part of the public schools' community.
"Three years later, students in the schools are beginning to use this language and vocabulary and appreciate the habits in school and at home," she said. "We have had parents actually tell us they are using the language at home … and because Mrs. Patenaude had this great idea that led North Adams students to success with their goal setting we decided to dedicate the book to her."
Patenaude thanked the students for the dedication and the administration for allowing her to go forward with her goal-setting program.
"I am honored, and I think the leader in me is a great set of habits to have and I am happy that we did it," she said.
The students included a quote by children's book writer Andrew Clements in the dedication:
"So many things have gone out of date. But after all of these years, words are still important. Words are still needed by everyone. Words are used to think with, to write with, to dream with, to hope and pray with."
Before disbanding, Fruscio addressed the students and said he saw a future leader in each and every one of them.
"We try to take our vision for a better life and better community and instill it in younger minds so that they grow through that and they become our new leaders," he said. "So I am in the business of always promoting North Adams sand this is one of the most important things that I have seen so take a moment to look around at these kids because these kids are the next generation leaders."
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