PORT CHARLOTTE — Neil Armstrong Elementary students shared what they’ve been learning about leadership, positivity and spreading kindness during their “Positive Astro Leadership Day.”

The public to tour classrooms where students displayed their projects and education.

It was a part of the school’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Exhibits included contents from the school’s time capsule, sealed in 1971 and opened in 2011.

In Andi Vazquez’s fourth-grade class, the theme was “Benchmark Spell Well, Read Well.”

Two students served as junior teachers and had the group read the word, name its vowels, syllables, then show syllable breaks. Vazquez said her students are reading above their grade level.

In Marlo Zoglio’s third-grade class, students shared their leadership notebooks and goal setting.

Student London Knecht read from her notebook and explained what her goals are and how she’s organized her progress.

Neil Armstrong Elementary serves pre-K through fifth grade.

The students, called Positive Astros, “take responsibility for their learning and are empowered to discover and develop their individual strengths so that they can influence others,” according to literature given to those attending the event.

At most grade levels, students lead their own parent/teacher conferences.

“Our goal is to prepare our students to communicate effectively with others, to take initiative, to have a strong work ethic, and to have integrity in everything they do,” reads one statement in a brochure.

Amanda Tebano’s third-grade class demonstrated their “Thinking Maps.”

Student Anthony Brown said he planned to “become a scientist.” He assisted Camila Gomez-Paniagua who drew on poster board with other students, showing how a thinking map, or a “bubble map,” helps one learn just about anything.

Emme Leal gave a brief lesson.

“If you put an ice cube in a pot, it will melt,” she said. “But if you keep heating it, it will evaporate and turn into gas.”

Eli DeForest then began to write in an explanation which provided more details.

The tours included a hallway dedicated to the school’s namesake.

Bella Shundry and Miliangelys (Mili) Amador-Vargas led the group to a hallway which had artifacts from the school’s founding in 1971, and photographs of astronaut Neil Armstrong, who was the first person to walk on the moon, on July 20, 1969.

Vicky Armentrout Verwey, an art teacher at the school, was in the third-grade during Neil Armstrong Elementary’s first year. Her photo was displayed with her classmates.

Next to the time capsule, sealed on Feb. 7, 1971, were artifacts it once held.

Various awards and proclamations also were on display, including the naming and dedication of Neil Armstrong Elementary.

Roxanne Sylver’s class, in conjunction with the other second-grade classes, did projects on community kindness.

Like his project board stated, “Noah Helps Everyone,” Noah Julien's showed photos of him helping his grandmother, helping to clean, plus other photos and objects attached to his poster board.

Damian Marchbank’s project had photos showing how he spent a day helping a neighbor.

Thien Nguyen’s board had photos of him picking up trash, and Havanna Ford had eight sections on her poster board showing eight ways that one can help, and she recited each one.

Miranda Cacique-Caltzontzin talked about how her way of spreading community kindness “is helping my parents.”

Sylver walked over and said Miranda is an ESE student, meaning her native language is not English. However, Miranda spoke beautiful English.

There are more than 720 students attending Neil Armstrong Elementary. The school was honored by being named the 17th Franklin Covey “Leader in Me” Lighthouse School in the World, on Oct. 7, 2011.

There are now about 300 schools around the world that have earned Lighthouse certification by meeting certain criteria, among them, the seven habits of highly successful people — be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win-win; seek first to understand, then to be understood; synergize; and sharpen the saw.

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