St. John students get lesson in manners from ‘Wilbur’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2012



GARYVILLE – Over the next three weeks, St. John the Baptist Parish students in grades K-4 will be getting a lesson on respect, fairness and kindness from what can only be described as a large and wise special guest.

“Big Wilbur,” the 8-foot-tall owl mascot of the Manners of the Heart program, will visit elementary schools in the district throughout this week and continuing until the middle of May. The program began Monday with a trip to Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet.

“Manners of the Heart is a non-profit, character education program that works with schools and business to teach self-respect, respect for others and personal responsibility to youth and adults,” said instructor Shawn Mills. “Instructors have been working with teachers in all of the elementary schools, as well as freshman classes in the high schools throughout the school year to incorporate lessons each week.”

Mills said the visits are part of a review of the concepts learned by the students throughout the year. The visits also serve as evaluation for program administrators to determine the effectiveness of the program.

St. John the Baptist Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Courtney Millet said principals and teachers have reported positive outcomes from having the Manners of the Heart instruction incorporated into this year’s school curriculum.

“We want to instill the very best in our students at every level so they can fully develop academically and socially,” Millet said. “This program has helped our schools promote character issues that are important to a person’s success.”

Following Monday’s trip to Garyville, “Big Wilbur” stopped Tuesday at John L. Ory. The visits continue April 30 at East St. John Elementary, May 1 at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary, May 7 at Emily C. Watkins Elementary, May 8 at West St. John Elementary, May 14 at Fifth Ward Elementary and May 15 at LaPlace Elementary.