Ciara was already a double Light Leader for the Points of Compassion and Integrity. And today—like Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls defeating the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Championship and achieving one of the most elusive accomplishments in sports—Ciara Three-Peated! She achieved the rare and remarkable status of Triple Light Leader. Her Point? Critical Thinker. As a fifth grader, Ciara is a living example of a positive and productive mindset that defines her as a leader in our community.
As we came together to close out this week, students and teachers gathered in the center of the gym to offer testimonials and evidence why Ciara’s actions, words, and mindset have earned her the Point of Critical Thinker and that elusive title of being honored as a Triple Light Leader.
Achieving and consistently living the Point of Critical Thinker requires intellect, introspection, and thoughtful reflection. Being a Critical Thinker is very much about how a student understands and makes sense of their world and the issues and problems they face (be they math or personal). Characteristics of a Fifth Grade Critical Thinker: I ask questions and seek help when I do not understand something. I reflect on and learn from my successes and failures. I identify specific steps that I need to take to achieve my goals. I think through situations and try to problem solve independently. Being a Critical Thinker is being a problem solver. You’re welcome future employers, Polaris is educating students to posses that one trait every boss wants: problem solver.
Kaylan from Ciara’s Crew nominated her because: “Whenever she is stuck on a problem or question, she always finds a way around it to get the answer in a math problem. Ciara will come up with strategies to help our Crew. When we were having a hard time and had talks about how we can do better as a Crew, she gave people suggestions and support on how they can improve.”
Jordan nominated Ciara because: “She thinks through problems when things get tough and learns from her mistakes to do better the next time. She always follows the school norms, and she takes steps to improve her learning to get better and get smarter.”
Aerise proposed Ciara because: “She asks questions about her work so she can do her best, and it always pays off. Ciara has always used her Critical Thinking skills to help her learn something new or something she needs to figure out. She also uses her skills to get a better understanding of things. She always reflects on her successes and accidents and makes ways to fix them. And lastly, Ciara always thinks before she does something. For example, during Crew discussions, she will always be involved and says things that will help our Crew.”
Ciara’s fourth grade teacher Ms. Saison said: “I had the honor of teaching this student. She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She thinks in ways to help all of us be better. She truly deserves this honor.
Father of Ciara: I’m just in total awe of what an amazing job she’s doing in school. She surprises me every year. She continues to grow as a student and as a person. For example, the Compassion she shows is a thing you don’t often see in kids her age. And she still has that innocence. She loves school. Polaris had an impact on her. She doesn’t just carry the Points of Polaris in school. She carries them outside of school as well. That’s always a good thing. She always carries the points with her wherever she goes.”
Upon hearing her name called as a three-time Light Leader, Ciara shared: “I’m shaking. it’s really exciting. I’m happy and I’m proud of myself. I want to thank all my friends and the people who nominated me and came out to speak in the circle today. I was really happy and I was crying tears of joy. It was very cool to have my Dad here. Polaris shapes who I am because the points of Polaris helped me become a better person and just thinking about those points makes me want to follow them and they make me who I am.”
Achieving one of the five Points of Polaris—Integrity, Compassion, Explorer, Critical Thinker, Active Citizen—is not easy. Most Polaris children go through their K-8 years without ever being nominated. Getting to one Point is a very difficult challenge. Many Polaris students work hard every day and strive every year to achieve the Point they wear on the back of their school uniform shirt. And while many may never be nominated for a single Point, all are forever changed by the pursuit of a Point. Becoming a Double Light Leader, which is what Ciara was before today, takes even more dedication, commitment, and resolve. It requires practice every day, diligence, and rigorous behavior. To be honored as a Triple Light Leader means to live in rarefied air. It is a realm few enter. We honored our last Triple Light Leader in 2017.
Becoming a Triple Light Leader might seem like some mythical goal—like the Bulls three-peating—but it begins with a single action. At the beginning of the Bulls 1993 season, Coach Phil Jackson told his players: “To win a third championship is a journey that begins with a single step. Each day is a step along the way to meeting that challenge.” For Ciara, achieving three Points of Polaris is testament to her perseverance and discipline, little steps that she took every day to be the best person she could be. Like Michael Jordan winning his third NBA championship, Ciara showed determination, character and heart to earn her third Point of Polaris.
What point will she achieve next? Active Citizen? Explorer? We are so proud of Ciara, our Triple Light Leader!