In Nanwalek, Alaska, Sean Moonin, a second grade student has proven that if you set your mind to doing something–even something unlikely—it can be done. Through his leadership and perseverance, Mrs. Kara Fraser’s second and third grade class earned 48 “Eagle Days” in 2015-2016. “Eagle Days” are a motivational strategy that Nanwalek School uses to increase attendance, and are earned when every student in a class is at school and on time, no matter what. Sean used social engineering to make sure his class rose to the top this year, and beyond what any class is known to have done in Nanwalek in recent years. Sean was a role model himself, achieving perfect attendance—a feat in itself, after having missed over 30 days the year before.
How did this class excel in earning so many Eagle Days through Sean’s leadership this year?
When asked this question by Principal Kleine, every student pointed to Sean. Sean organized and directed others to assist his efforts, but all agreed that Sean was definitely the reason these kids achieved what was highly unlikely without this young leader.
What was Sean’s strategy? Call his classmates every morning? No! Could he text them to get them going? Not in Nanwalek–there is no cell service. Then what?
Sean was very systematic in his approach. He woke up each day on his own, an hour before he planned to be at school. That in itself is remarkable for a second grader! He came to school a half hour before the bell rang for classes, took inventory of his classmates to see who was missing, gathered help from classmates who were there, ran to each village house of the missing students, and knocked on their door. “It was pretty surprising,” said Bella Velez, a third grader, “we haven’t seen this before.” Another third grader, Juanita Wood, said, “It is a bit thrilling. Even though it’s a small group, it takes all of us and we are really far apart with our houses.”
“Really far apart” is a relative term.
Nanwalek is a small village, but it also does not have street lights everywhere to light the way, and the weather can be very challenging. These factors did not stop Sean Moonin.
Besides earning a Perfect Attendance Award, Mrs. Fraser awarded Sean a Leadership Award for his efforts at getting his classmates to school. The class was awarded intermittently throughout the year for reaching a certain number of Eagle Days. In a grand finale, Principal Kleine gave these youngsters an unexpected surprise that is really special in Nanwalek: Subway sandwiches and cookies, all served on the new picnic tables outside.
Bravo, Sean Moonin! You may only be in second grade, but you are a leader and have made a difference in your community!