Angela Brandt Havre Daily News email@example.com
Shaking hands, addressing the public and kissing babies is all part of being a government leader. To help Sunnyside Intermediate School student council members practice for this, fifth-grade teacher Dick Fuzesy invited the group to greet students at the school’s entrance. “It’s all part of being an elected official,” Fuzesy said Friday. The pupils will have to experience the baby smooching elsewhere. Montana State University-Northern Lights football players welcomed the school’s students Friday morning. The team members then played with the kids, shimmying down slides and tossing a a few balls. “Today, when the Lights were playing football with the kids, they even made the Lights players line up on the fence,” Fuzesy said with a chuckle. The teacher first heard about the guest greeters concept while attending a Montana Behavioral Initiative conference this summer. The initiative was created to assist educators, along with parents and community members, in developing attitudes, skills and systems necessary to ensure each student leaves public education with both social and academic competence. It focuses on rewarding and acknowledging positive behavior rather than punishing students for undesirable actions. Fuzesy said he returned home from the gathering and began compiling a list of potential people to offer their salutations. Having various Havreites welcome the students gives them a sense of pride and caring, he said. “The kids say I wonder who is going to be there today. We better get ( to school) and see,’” Fuzesy said. The Lights came in conjunction with the college’s homecoming. Past welcomers include Havre High School Football Head Coach Kevin Sukut, former Sunnyside principal Linda Kaze and Havre Mayor Bob Rice. Rice, who is familiar with the howdys and hand shakes himself, said he enjoyed the experience immensely. “It’s nice to see the kids and talk with them. I was surprised by how many kids already knew who I was and asked for autographs,” he said. The mayor said students were “very cordial.” “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I would do it again.” The greeters’ enthusiasm has “kicked me into gear,” Fuzesy said. The school averages a receiver per week, he added. Feature welcomers may include local cheerleaders, Havre Police Department officers and Havre firefighters. The scheduling of the guests coordinate with books the students are reading at times. Fuzesy said a reading series on firefighters is coming up in the plans so a visit from the Havre Fire Department would go along nicely.
Anyone interested in being a greeter can contact Fuzesy at 265-9671.