The voice that came over the school intercom sounded a bit younger than usual on Tuesday. It wasn’t that of Jean Francois-Lopez, the man usually in charge of schoolwide announcements. Instead, Lukas House, the Principal of the Day, spoke in flawless French.
“Hello everybody,” he said. “My name is Lukas House and I am from CM1-A and I am your principal for the day.”
So began the whirlwind day for this special fourth grader, who won the opportunity to be Principal of the Day at last year’s annual gala. From the minute he arrived at school, he was treated like the boss. Special balloons lined the carpool lane and the outdoor LED sign flashed “Welcome Principal Lukas” on the front of the building. Lukas then met with Mr. Lopez, his companion for the day, to plan out their schedule.
“The coolest thing is that I like looking around at most parts of the campus that I haven’t seen yet,” Lukas said. “I also like that I don’t have to do a lot of classwork.”
While Lukas eschewed his typical school day schedule, it wasn’t all fun and games. He sat in on the weekly DIS executive meeting, prepared reports and worked with Mr. Lopez’s assistant to sign letters, approve bills and receive phone calls.
“Sitting at the meetings is hard,” Lukas said. “Sometimes I really don’t understand everything they’re saying or doing but it can be fun. I didn’t know that everything at the school was so hard and that all the people working here have a big stack of papers. I didn’t know that they do that stuff every day.”
Lukas also ran some of his school improvement ideas by campus administrators.
“I liked working on some of the ideas that we’ve talked about like low-energy lightbulbs in the cafeteria and planting more plants around campus,” he said. “Some of these are for Green DIS, which is helping the school save more energy.”
Lukas worked hard, but he still enjoyed himself. There was a special pizza lunch for him and his classmates, extended recess time and even an opportunity to announce to the whole school that, by order of Principal House, there would be a free dress day next week.
Two more students will serve as Principal for the Day in February and March, respectively, and attendees at this year’s gala in April will have the opportunity to win their student the honor for next school year. Principal House had one piece of advice for those who would soon fill his position.
“Choose good ideas,” he said. “Don’t waste your time. You only have one day to do all this stuff. You’re the boss for the day.”