Local students example for executives nationwide

RALEIGH Although attendees got their opening address from the famed author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," it was a local group of school children who stole the show and perhaps taught the most important lesson.

Most of the executives who attended help run their local chambers of commerce in cities across the country. They wanted to hear from bestselling author Dr. Stephen Covey.

"In order to be competitive in a global market, we must have analytical skills, strong work ethic, communication skills, honesty and integrity," one of the student attendees said.

The students attend A.B. Combs Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh.

For 10 years they've learned by the principles of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People." During that time, attendance at the school has more than doubled, test scores have soared and discipline problems have plummeted.

More than 100 schools nationwide have followed the school's lead.

"All great leaders begin with the end in mind," another student said. "You have to know what you want, develop a plan and make it happen."

Principal Muriel Summers is the one who's made it happen at A.B. Combs and she hopes the example spreads.

"I'm hoping the message that they will take back to their communities is regardless of what's going on in our country, the one thing we cannot cut back on is public education," Summers said.

Dr. Covey approves of that message.

"I feel a lot of affection for the school and for the kids and for this city," Covey said.

"Synergy is achieved when two or more people work together to accomplish a goal that neither could do alone," said an A.B. Combs student. "It's not your way or my way, but a better way."

The hope is that maybe leaders will learn or remember that better way thanks to the students of A.B. Combs.

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