The Great Handshake
Fifth grade students at Rock Quarry Elementary recently competed in "The Great Handshake". This event places an emphasis on teaching students manners, discipline, respect and professional conduct. Students learn the nuances of professional human interaction as they are taught skills such as a proper handshake, how to “work a room”, how to give a successful interview and how to remain composed under pressure.
The goal of The Great Handshake is to prepare students to present themselves exceptionally well for opportunities today as well as those that will come in the future.Volunteer judges from the community tested our scholars on their ability to show poise and respect while meeting and greeting strangers.
The RQES Great Handshake was a preliminary competition for the “Amazing Shake”, developed by The Ron Clark Academy, a nonprofit middle school located in Atlanta, Georgia, that has received both national and international recognition. The Ron Clark Academy hosts the “Amazing Shake Nationals”, open to any student in the 5th-8th grade each school year. It is our hope that a student from Rock Quarry Elementary will qualify and compete at the national level.
RQES students “dressed for success”, completed job applications and took a typing test. They also wrote essays, joined in team building exercises and had 3 job interviews with community volunteers. Finally, students enjoyed a luncheon with our community leaders and volunteers. These “soft skills” are keys to success in college, careers and in life. Teacher, Mikki Powell said, “It was incredible watching the children engage, talk and respond like adults. These skills are so often overlooked so I was thrilled to see my students excel.”
Our volunteers scored our students in all categories of the competition. And in the end, 15 finalists were selected to compete at the county level held at the University of Alabama. In congratulating the winners, Principal Laura Jockisch said, “It is not the handshake, it is what’s behind the handshake.
Cheers to the winners of the 1st annual Rock Quarry Elementary Great Handshake! They are Andrew Matthews, Nathan Lee, Quinn Merritt, Garrett Ingram, Jeffrey Zhao, Isabelle Shemwell, Collier Kisner, Paxton Heslop, Reid Bankston, Robbie Morrison, Bowen Woods, Audrey Price, Lilee Becker, Maya Wingo and Sophia Guo.
Teacher, Stephanie Suttles said, "This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career and could not have been accomplished without the support of community leaders and volunteers. To these people, we thank you for your assistance in making the first annual RQES Great Handshake a success!"
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