Elvin Hill Elementary School Students Celebrate Elvin Hill Day with 99 Acts of Service

elvin-hill-dayStudents at Elvin Hill Elementary School recently honored former Superintendent Elvin Hill, for whom their school is named, by recently performing 99 acts of service in the community in honor of what would have been his 99th birthday on November 22.

The event was spearheaded by Hill’s granddaughter, Hayden Jeffries, who teaches first grade at the school.

“I decided to ask our students to participate in doing 99 Acts of Service in honor of my grandfather’s 99th birthday,” Jeffries said. “My memories of him always include a kind smile and a giving heart.  I wanted the students here at Elvin Hill Elementary to know that the school they attend was named after a man who loved to serve others.”
When Jeffries told the faculty about it, fellow teacher Martha Bentley asked if the day could culminate with an assembly to tell the students a little more about Mr. Hill and to showcase how the students served others throughout the previous weeks.
senior-4senior-center-1Acts of service performed by the students included picking up trash; helping Head Start; marking cards for soldiers, police officers and hospice patients; collecting coloring books and books for Children’s Hospital; making Thanksgiving placemats for the Columbiana Senior Center and local nursing home; putting together Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes; collecting pop tops for Ronald McDonald House; helping the Skillet Bird Toy Fund; collecting canned food; holding a pajama drive for Safe House; writing thank-you letters and notes of encouragement to Veterans, soldiers, family members, Child Nutrition Program workers, and instructional aides; collecting newspapers for the Shelby Humane Society; collecting recyclable items for the Boy Scouts; writing Thanksgiving cards for residents of a local apartment community; collecting blankets for children in need; and helping with the See You At the Pole and Veteran’s Day programs at the school.
In addition to the acts of service, the students also learned how Mr. Elvin Hill exemplified the seven habits they learn about from participating in the Leader in Me Program by Stephen Covey, who wrote the book the Seven Habits of High Effective People.

Elvin Hill’s family

Jeffries discussed with her family members things they remembered about Mr. Hill and how those traits represented the seven habits featured in the Leader in Me program.  During the program, the students shared the following regarding Mr. Hill:

Habit #1: Be Proactive:

“Mr. Elvin Hill chose to be proactive!  He was very friendly and always spoke to others with a warm smile. He was kind to everyone he met, and people still remember that about him.  Even when others were unkind, or if he didn’t feel well, he chose to smile and be positive. Mr. Elvin Hill was a man who made good choices each day.” – Carter Wood, second grade

Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind

“While Mr. Elvin Hill was superintendent, there were so many families moving into Northern Shelby County that a new school needed to be built. He made a plan to find the best place to build it. He drove along a road that had nothing on either side (we know it as Highway 31 now – with lots of great places to eat and shop, but back then there was nothing there).  He found some property and led the county in building a school there. The school’s name? Valley Elementary School.  Mr. Hill began with the end in mind. He could envision the growing community that would need that school!” – Ava Barco, third grade

Habit #3: Put First Things First

“Ms. Peg Hill is Elvin Hill’s daughter. She was principal here at our school for seven years.  Ms. Hill says that her daddy always made sure to be at church every Sunday morning. His faith came first. Then he worked hard all during the week.  If he finished everything else he had to do, he loved to go fishing on Saturday morning! Mr. Elvin Hill knew how to put first things first!” – Brayden Hutton, first grade

Habit #4: Think Win-Win

“Mr. Hill was in the Kiwanis Club. That club tries to carry out acts of service for many people and groups in Shelby County.  They needed to raise some money so that they could do the acts of service.  Mr. Elvin Hill and his Kiwanis friends had an idea! What if they brought a fair to Columbiana? That was how the Shelby County Fair came to our town! Mr. Hill worked hard at the fair each year. It was win-win because the Kiwanis Club raised money to donate to many people (including our schools!), and we have all gotten to enjoy the Shelby County Fair ever since!” – Kristina Horton, fourth grade 

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand

“Mr. Elvin Hill was principal at SCHS during part of his career. Over the years since then, many people have told Mrs. Jeffries how they got in trouble when they were in high school and were sent to Mr. Hill’s office.  Even though they remember being punished, they always tell her that he first tried to find out why they misbehaved. He always sought first to understand. Then he tried to see if there was anything that he could do to help them. The way he handled discipline helped students to better understand themselves and to make wiser choices!” – Eli Holliman, fourth grade 

Habit #6: Synergize:

“When he was principal of Shelby County High School, he had three young children and they lived in a tiny house.  When he decided to build a new house, he talked his ideas over with friends that he worked with. They each knew a little about building a house. They all worked together, each joining his knowledge and talents with the others. They synergized to build a house that none of them could have built alone. Then the Hills had a home big enough for their growing family.” – Abigail Moss, second grade

Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw

“One of Mr. Elvin Hill’s favorite ways of sharpening the saw was to go fishing! Another activity that he really enjoyed was gardening. He especially liked to use his talents to help others.  As a little girl, Mrs. Jeffries remembers helping him pick some of the vegetables in his garden. Then they would load up most of what they had harvested and drive around Columbiana, sharing the bounty with friends and older people who might have a hard time getting out to shop for groceries.” – Jada Nelms (4th grade)

Habit #8: Leave a Legacy

“After Steven Covey had written the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he realized that there really should be one more habit. That habit is to Leave a Legacy. That means that we think about how our words and actions influencing others? Is the life I am living going to have a positive impact on those who come after me? Those of you who are fifth graders like I am, we are creating a legacy that can continue here even after we are in middle school and high school. Mr. Elvin Hill has left a strong legacy, not only for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren but for each one of us who walk through the halls of this building that bears his name. I am thankful for the legacy he has left for us.” – Caylee Lann (5th grade)

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