QUINCY -- Lynne Scholz doesn't mind taking a pie in the face for a good cause.
And she couldn't think of a better reason to get messy Friday afternoon than to help reveal to students, staff and parents that Berrian School has earned Lighthouse School status -- the highest level of the Seven Habits process.
"We're really excited to share it with our students and have them be part of the excitement," said Scholz, Berrian's prevention educator. "Some of them weren't even born when we began this process."
Students took aim at 10 Berrian staff members with whipped cream pies, and letters inside the pies spelled out L-I-G-H-T-H-O-U-S-E.
"So what does it mean to be a lighthouse school? A lighthouse school is full of students who are a beacon of light for others," Berrian Principal Chrissy Cox said. "Remember to let your light shine every day."
Cox said Berrian is only the ninth school in Illinois to earn the recognition given only to a select number of schools nationwide that stand out as shining examples of what the Seven Habits program is about. In Quincy, Blessed Sacrament School and Ellington School also have earned the recognition.
The process involves gathering at least 144 pieces of evidence showing the school implemented and continually works on activities, processes and practices to help students learn about leadership, the Seven Habits and the practices that go into those habits.
"We've been learning how to be leaders and use the Seven Habits not just at school but at home and everywhere else," third-grader Catori Holford said.
Learning about the habits "is really fun," said third-grader Karedyn Williams, who tipped a pie into the face of staff member Barb Triplett. "Not only do you get to learn, but you get to do fun activities while learning."
Building leadership skills in students spurred Berrian to seek the designation with work launched six years ago. Scholz said Cox devoted a lot of time, effort and resources so the school could start on the journey, and "without a strong leader like Mrs. Cox, this nice award would never have happened," Scholz said.
But the work won't stop even after becoming a lighthouse school.
"We're constantly going to be working on trying to help our students become leaders of themselves and be able to become wonderful community leaders in our future," Scholz said.
"I can't even imagine my life if I would have started in an elementary school and learned some of the skills that our students are learning now," she said. "They can get up and speak in public. They know how to shake hands with eye contact. The stuff they are learning at a very young age -- how to put first things first, begin with the end in mind -- are all wonderful skills that serve us for our whole life."