Malinda Gatlin and Jenny Fretz
“Moonlight Star Families” is the winning project of Gatlin and Fretz that involves character awareness and education, leadership, and school pride through the creation of small, multi-aged groups made up of 11-12 students. Led by Moonlight Elementary staff members, the school will have approximately 56 total families. The older students of the group will be responsible for leadership roles and being role models for the younger students as well as reading literature that supports the school’s pillars of character. These families will meet monthly for 30 minutes to focus on character instruction, including building relationships, team building activities, service projects and group discussion. The overall purpose of the families is to build self-esteem and work on creating positive relationships for all Moonlight students. The families that the students and staff are assigned to, will be the same families they will have throughout the duration of their time at Moonlight, which could be as long as seven years. Gatlin and Fretz believe feeling a part of a group, being connected with positive role models and developing leadership skills are crucial for students.