Students in our National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) chapter at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Rio Rancho, NM, complete lots of service projects every year from campus cleanup to clothing and canned food drives. This school year, we undertook a more ambitious project: having our students serve as tour guides for our annual Kindergarten Roundup.

Each spring during the roundup, we invite prospective kindergartners and their families to visit our school. They meet the teachers, tour the building, and get lots of information. When we were planning this year’s event, our administrators suggested that it might be cool if we had students lead the tour, and specifically some of the 29 fourth and fifth graders who make up our NEHS chapter.

Members of NEHS serve as tour guides at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. Photos courtesy of Melissa Eisenberg. 

The students we selected were very excited. Groups of three students led three tours of 50–60 kids and their families. Our students came up with what they thought were the most important stops on a tour (the playground and the art rooms) and what the group should hear about our school (the great staff). They also wrote their own scripts. Whoever wasn’t presenting at the time would stand back and answer questions from families. They were definitely prepared and did a great job.

Our students were nervous at first, but at the end of the tours, you could tell there was a big sense of accomplishment and pride in what they did and pride in our school. As educators, we loved seeing their positive reactions because that’s why we’re in this profession. The feedback we received from the administration and families was that it was the highlight of Kindergarten Roundup, and they loved hearing our students’ experiences at the school rather than listening to an adult.

Before the students led the tours, we put a lot of effort into building their confidence. We talked about how they know the school and would be great guides. And then we practiced as much as we could. Another big plus is that all the students in the chapter really showed their support. The guides were really nervous, but when we told them they would have other Honor Society students with them, that was huge in helping build their confidence.

We already know that our chapter members will be leading the tours again next school year. This should be a big selling point for being active in the chapter as well as a great way to help show the five pillars of NEHS: everyday scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. We’re just incredibly proud of our students, and they’re proud to be a part of our school. This is going to be a defining moment for them in their elementary school years.

About the Author

Melissa Eisenberg and Summer Schapekahm are NEHS advisers at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Rio Rancho, NM.

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