HARLINGEN — What better way to build leadership skills than construct a tower of spaghetti?

Maybe a picture made of dominoes?

Student leaders from throughout the Harlingen school district learned about leadership Thursday through these and other skills during the E-Colors in Education Student Leadership Summit.

“We’re working on being able to use our strengths and being able to work together,” said Liam Gilloon, 15, a student at the Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy.

Liam was one of 65 middle and high school students who participated in the summit at the Harlingen Consolidation Independent School District Administration Building.

“With this thing called E-colors, we’re divided into different groups,” said Gilloon, a member of the Student Council and treasurer of the National Junior Honor Society.

The Personality Diversity Indicator the students took in the fall gave a better picture of their characteristics and tendencies, said Rosalinda Mercado, CEO of E-Colors in Education.

“When they paired off in their groups, the idea is, ‘Can we work together really on our own with the people that think like us or is it more effective to work in a dynamic group where there’s diversity and perspective?’” she said.

“The idea they got is, ‘Yes, diversity is much more needed than just someone who thinks like me.’”

After they’d created their spaghetti towers and domino pictures, the individual team members worked together in their groups to create their own pitches to promote Harlingen.

“We are learning how to work with other people and using our potential limiters and our strengths,” said Camryn Hale, 15, who tested as a red-green because of her eagerness to think clearly about a task while completing it.

“We are doing teamwork with people like us and not like us,” said Camryn, also a member of the student council at Cano as well as the National Junior Honor Society.

She enjoyed building the spaghetti tower.

“It taught us about personality traits and how to work with those certain personality traits,” she said. “I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the different personality types of people and how to work with them.”

This kind of activity is important for building the whole student, said Veronica Kortan, administrator for organizational development for the Harlingen school district.

“Quality education is built on strong character,” Kortan said. “Without that, if we don’t start there, it’s not as good as we can have. It’s not the greatest product we can offer. We really need to start with the character because when we do that you build a lot of trust within the system.”

She pointed out that students develop life skills they will take with them beyond the 12th grade. The district, she said, invests in their whole lives.

What it’s about

Students attending the E-Colors in Education Student Leadership Summit Thursday already had one session the previous fall.

“The focus was to know yourself, then know others and be able to understand themselves as student leaders,” said Rosalinda Mercado, CEO of E-Colors in Education.

Mercado added the program also emphasized what the students’ roles would be for the community and how they would best represent the school district.

“We did that in the fall,” she said. “The idea today was that now that you know yourself and you know those around you, how can we actually appraise some of these understandings so that we can add value in our educational journey.”

Furthermore, students would also be able to expand that journey in a way in which the community could see the gains that had been attained with the investment made in their training and development as student leaders.

During the fall session, students took a Personality Diversity Indicator. The exam revealed individual strengths and potential limiters and separated different personality types into colors. On Thursday, students were separated according to their colors. Another group was composed of different personality types.

Red – Doer

Green – Thinker

Blue – Relator

Yellow – Socializer