Fairfield students devote school day to learning about ‘grit’

High school students host assembly for elementary school.

To be successful in life requires tenacity, resilience and — in a word increasingly popular in America’s lexicon — “grit.”

And young students at a Fairfield elementary recently heard that strong message delivered by high school students at a first-of-its-kind assembly for the Butler County district.

Members of Fairfield High Schools boys and girls’ basketball teams came to Fairfield North Elementary Thursday to speak to and help motivate the younger students about the importance of developing the characteristic of grit.

“We all have different stories,” said Cam Sanders, a Fairfield varsity basketball player told the elementary students. “Write your own story … and be the best version of you always.”

Girls’ basketball team member Lexi Hayes told the youngsters overcoming challenges and the desire at times to give up have been keys to her successes.

“If you ever feel like quitting, don’t,” adding that sticking to a dream and realizing it won’t come easy has been essential to her achievements in life.

Other speakers included the members of the widely acclaimed Choraliers of Fairfield High School and Assistant Principal Ricardo Calles, who is a graduate of the district.

Calles started school in Fairfield while having to learn English to excel in his classes, leading to college and later his eventual role as a member of the leadership team at one of Ohio’s largest high schools.

Denise Hayes, principal of North Elementary, said the entire school days was dedicated to the theme of the importance of developing grit with some of the high school students also reading books in the younger grade classes that featured stories exemplifying the characteristic.

“Grit is part of social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum here at the school … and we wanted to make this really practical for our kids so we thought about guest speakers coming in,” said Hayes.

The school, which is located in Fairfield Twp., has grades K-5 and an enrollment of 660.

“Originally we thought about having adults but then we realized what better people to have our students relate to than other students who were in their exact shoes not so long ago.”

The response from all involved was overwhelmingly positive, she said.

“It was amazing and what made it so amazing was the fact that both the big and the little kids got something from it. I know that my kids definitely got the message of having grit and what it takes to persevere and work hard and set goals.”

“We’ve been talking a lot in school about academics and how we can’t just wish for things to improve, we have to put in the work.”

Fairfield Schools Spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher said devoting an entire school day to the exploration, discussion and study of grit was a first for the 10,000-student district.

“The assembly was uplifting and inspiring for students and staff. The younger kids look up to our high school students and they are great role models, especially for this meaningful lesson about not giving up on your goals,” said Gentry-Fletcher.

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