If you were to visit Reaching All Minds Academy around mid-day, you’d expect to see students playing outside, running, laughing, and climbing all over the playground. While you would see a typical recess, it would be hard not to notice Lidia Mancilla, Maria Reynoso, and several other students walking around the playground with trash bags. Lidia, with the support of her good friend Maria, has started the Earth Savers Club, both doing their best to take care of the planet.
When asked why she started the Club, Lidia quietly, but passionately, stated: “I started seeing videos about habitats begin ruined because of trash – the sea and many other places. We need to take care of our world.” At nine years old and third grade students in Ms. Culbreth’s class, Lidia and Maria have started the Earth Saver Club for not only themselves but for the entire school. To recruit members, Lidia wrote and distributed a letter to all of the teachers at RAM Academy. Lidia asked teachers to take their students outside during recess and help pick up trash around the school because “the whole school is the Club.”
While Lidia tells her story in a reserved and matter-of-fact way, her teacher, Ms. Culbreth, proudly shares the leadership she sees in Lidia’s personality. Ms. Culbreth says Lidia’s leadership in this project grew out of the class’ viewing of an episode of “Little Big Shots”. After viewing the clip, Ms. Culbreth explained to her entire 3rd grade class that none of the kids on that television program “have any more potential, drive or intelligence” than her own students. Ms. Culbreth encouraged each of her students to “find what you care about” and reassured them that the teachers and staff at RAM Academy would help them make it happen.
Lidia took these words to heart, bringing her Earth Savers Club to Ms. Culbreth and explaining her passion and desire to make a change. Ms. Culbreth didn’t, for a minute, question Lidia’s ability to turn her idea into reality because leadership is ingrained in Lidia’s personality. “I knew it the first day I met her,” Ms. Culbreth said.