“Attitude is not the result of success; success is the result of a great attitude.” That's what West Lafayette Police Chief Troy Harris shared with members of a group called Standing As Gentleman (SAG) at Klondike Middle School. Chief Harris served as a guest speaker for the program that meets bi-weekly to provide leadership, mentorship and guidance to the young men.
Lead instructor Sergeant Sanford Swanson says during the semester-long program students focus on 11 characteristics: posture, eye contact, dress, speech, gestures, language, presentation, respect, attitude, conflict resolution and interview preparation. He says the goal is to make these young men leaders among their peers: “To make them active, respectable, thoughtful, contributing young men who are afforded unreached opportunities through newfound confidence.”
Klondike Middle School Principal Deb Carter says Sergeant Swanson’s approach resonates with the students. He is serving as a role model to teach the young men skills they need to reach their goals. “I’ve noticed some of the students have better manners, their grades are improving and so are their communication skills,” adds Carter.
Sergeant Swanson says the students appear to be responding well, but there have been challenges. He says change takes practice and consistency: “It needs to be reinforced in school and at home in order to become habit forming. These are very influential years in these young mens' lives. They deserve every best chance they can get and have a personal responsibility to seize each positive opportunity.”
As Chief Harris wrapped up his presentation, he challenged members of SAG to identify areas that they need to work on so that others don’t negatively influence their attitude. “Be intentional and treat everyone like they are the most important person you know,” says Chief Harris. “You can change your life. It starts with your attitude.”