Return to Headlines

Volney Elementary Celebrates the Theme of the Year: “Be You”

Volney Elementary School is beginning the new school year with a simple yet powerful message: “Be You.”

On Sept. 9, Principal Elizabeth Stoddard announced the new theme to students in the first afternoon assembly of the new year. The school gathered together as the teaching staff collectively read from “Be You,” a book by author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds.

“We want everyone to feel free to be themselves and to feel welcomed and cared for,” said Volney staff when asked why the theme was chosen. “[Students should] know that they are safe and they belong.” 

“Be You” will help shape the rest of the year, with a number of assemblies and classroom activities planned around the phrase. The theme will help to kick off the school’s Reading Madness literacy initiative and a process of individual student goal setting. The academic year will also see the return of School Buddies, where older students pair with younger counterparts to guide them in their own learning process.

The new theme was far from the only thing revealed at the assembly. Students were treated to a surprise visit from Pete the Cat – portrayed by second-grade teacher Rauri Downes. The blue-clad guest led students in singing a Pete the Cat musical favorite, “Just Gotta Be You,” while unveiling an upcoming visit from the series’ author Eric Litwin.

Volney’s “Be You” theme pairs with other district initiatives already working to transform FCSD culture. Both at Volney Elementary and around the district, posters proudly declare “You belong here. It is safe to speak up here. What we do is important.”

Litwin’s visit to Volney Elementary School will take place on Oct. 19, and has been planned by the Volney Elementary PTA.