Warwick. Park Avenue fourth-grader Lyla Sandfort wants people to know that being helpful and kind are two important attributes everyone should embrace.
She speaks from experience, too, saying these are important qualities she looks to live by every day.
Lyla, a Junior Girl Scout, a basketball and soccer player, and a member of Park’s Student Council, says helpfulness and kindness help make her school and community better places.
“If someone is behind in something and needed help, I would help them,” she says. “And if we didn’t help others, then our community wouldn’t be the community we have right now. I like helping; it’s a very nice and important thing to do.”
Jean Laroe, her fourth-grade teacher, notes she immediately saw how Lyla’s character and way of thinking make her classroom a better place.
“Everything everyone says about her is true,” Ms. Laroe says. “She is extremely helpful and is a huge asset to our class.”
Helpfulness and its important connections
Lyla consistently emphasizes the importance of helpfulness and its connections to other important individual qualities.
“Helping is important because if you don’t help, then you’re not the nicest person,” she says. “To help is also important because it shows that you’re kind and generous. Plus, helping is kind of fun too. It will also help you to feel good about yourself.”
Denise Kipp, who was her third-grade teacher, says Lyla was always a hard worker in her class and, without a doubt, remains a wonderful role model.
“She cares deeply about the quality of her work, and her work ethic is impeccable,” Ms. Kipp says. “She cares about her relationships with other kids. She’s very humble. You don’t see this too often in young children.”
Lyla is the oldest of the three girls in the Sandfort family, Ms. Kipp explains, and lives on a small farm.
“I know how responsible she is around the house and farm,” her former teacher says. “And she is very respectful of the school and its teachers. She’s a role model in terms of how she socializes with others and her work ethic.”
‘You should always try your best’
Lyla, who is considering becoming a kindergarten teacher someday, finds working hard and putting one’s best effort into that work does make a difference.
“You should always try your best,” she stresses. “And, even if you don’t like someone, you should always try to be nice.”
Lyla says learning helpful skills can be beneficial as students grow older.
“Being an adult is hard,” she says. "You have to do a lot of stuff. You have to pay for things. If you learn this now, it will help you later on.”
Ms. Kipp finds Lyla’s personality and perspective on life are an example for others.
“Lyla shows us what life is all about — caring for others,” Ms. Kipp says. “What you give, you get back. She’s conscientious, sweet and an all-around great kid.”
David Leach, superintendent of the Warwick Valley Central School District, regularly shines his “Superintendent’s Spotlight” on one of Warwick Valley’s students. “Superintendent’s Spotlight” features students who reach goals, achieve accomplishments, face challenges and prove themselves to be role models.