Just as students had settled into their seats in Duchesne’s chapel guest speaker Dr. Viv Ewing, PhD, surprised them by asking them to stand up, put their chin up, and face forward. This was the way to greet the world: with their heads held high and standing up for what they believe in.

The activity brought the students to attention and set the tone for an engaging and rewarding discussion about respecting yourself and others.

Dr. Ewing, who is the Vice President of Development at Children’s Square USA in Council Bluffs, asked students to identify three things they are good at and like about themselves.

“Once you believe those things for yourselves, you’ll show them in your actions and you’ll be able to be those good things for others,” she told the class.

In addition to her leadership role at Children’s Square USA, Dr. Ewing has worked as an executive leader or consultant with some of Omaha’s most well-known companies and non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity Omaha and Alzheimer’s Association Midlands Chapter.

The speech was part of special programs at Duchesne Tuesday. Freshmen listened to Dr. Ewing, Sophomores participated in a college discussion with Creighton University, Juniors took the ACT, and Seniors completed a group service project.

Ewing encouraged freshmen to reject a culture of exclusivity and bullying and instead work to identify everyone’s best qualities and celebrate them.

“I encourage you to be part of the solution,” she said.

Dr. Ewing’s words reinforced messages Duchesne’s counselors give to students daily.

“I love that Dr. Ewing started her speech encouraging students to be self-confident. When students feel confident in themselves, it radiates to others,” said Krissy Walsh, a Duchesne Guidance Counselor.

Some students can be susceptible to negative thoughts and feelings during this time of increased isolation and it is important to remind children they have unique gifts to give the world, said Walsh.

Parents can help develop their child’s confidence with simple questions or conversations.

“Students might not even know their leadership potential, so pointing out ways you see them taking responsibility and doing their best are great ways to encourage that confidence to bloom,” Walsh said. “If students are struggling to identify their strengths or don’t feel good about themselves, ask them what their friends/teachers/siblings like about them and how they can start to believe these things about themselves.”

A confident student has the ability to help others, Ewing told the students.

“Speak up for those who don’t have a voice,” she said.

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