A third grade student is the author of C.C. Pinckney Elementary School's new pledge students and staff will recite every day for the foreseeable future.
Evie Ford, native of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, won out over roughly 290 competitors in their bid to pen the new pledge.
Every C.C. Pinckney student, grades second through sixth, had the opportunity to submit a pledge.
Ford's stood out, as hers was the only entry that incorporated both staff and students.
She said writing it came to her easily.
"It took me two minutes, to be exact" to complete the first and final draft, Ford said.
She thought of it all by herself, inspired by her second grade experience and her two years in Girl Scouts.
In second grade, Ford said her teacher had the students promise to be respectful and to commit to learn something every day after saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
In Girl Scouts, "you do your best, and you learn," Ford said.
"Every student should be respectful," try hard and focus on learning, she added.
Her pledge is based on those themes.
Kerrie Ammons, C.C. Pinckney speech pathologist, called it an "equal opportunity" pledge. Ford said she thought, "This will make a good pledge for everybody," teachers and students alike.
The idea to adopt a school pledge based on the school vision of achieving student success, all day, every day, came from the belief that "everybody should have a shared belief … shared values," Harvey said. Ford's pledge "really evoked that … everybody can live by (her words)."
Whereas the Pledge of Allegiance is a vow to the country and it's shared values, the school pledge narrows in on the specific beliefs of C.C. Pinckney, Harvey added.
Ford took the idea of a schoolwide pledge to heart, Harvey said, by getting everyone to promise to be a part of that culture and by capturing the ideals of the school vision.
The school surprised Ford with the announcement that she had won in front of the entire student body.
An assembly to announce gift card winners of the recent Math Night at the Commissary included the unexpected reveal that Ford had written the winning C.C. Pinckney Pledge.
"I was like, 'oh my god,'" Ford said, commenting that she didn't expect to win. "It just feels awesome."
"Hers was just perfect," said Theresa Harvey, C.C. Pinckney principal, calling it "timeless."
Harvey said that is important, because this will be the school pledge for as long as she is principal, even after Ford is no longer a C.C. Pinckney student.
"It was a pledge that everyone could actually commit to and do every day," Harvey said. "The teachers are committing to learn something."
Harvey said she appreciates that the pledge requires "the same commitment" from pupil and instructor alike.
"(In) a lot of school pledges … it's usually only the students" who participate, Harvey added. This pledge brings everyone on the same page.
It shows that adults are always learning, too, and that growth doesn't end with childhood, Harvey added.