StrengthsFinder Finds Its Way to Whitman

Mr. Stanly Bonilla, left, leads a student workshop that utilizes the online assessment tool StrengthsFinder 2.0
Mr. Stanly Bonilla, left, leads a student workshop that utilizes the online assessment tool StrengthsFinder 2.0
A student prints out his own personalized strengths assessment.
A student prints out his own personalized strengths assessment.
District Behavioral Specialist Ms. Jennifer DeNoble assists her students in the StrengthsFinder 2.0 summer workshop.
District Behavioral Specialist Ms. Jennifer DeNoble assists her students in the StrengthsFinder 2.0 summer workshop.
DAILY ANNOUNCEMENTS

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Chances are, you don't. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths. This is how the best-selling book StrengthsFinder, by Tom Rath, is introduced 

The book not only became required reading this past summer, but 33 students in South Huntington’s summer employment program took the book’s message further by accessing the StrengthsFinder 2.0 online assessment program in a workshop conducted by Mr. David Perkins, South Huntington’s supervisor of Student Services. The assessment program is based on a 40-year study of human strengths. Gallup, the program’s developer, created a language of the 34 most common talents and developed the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to help people discover and describe these talents. 

“In our society we tend to look at people’s deficits,” said Mr. Perkins. “But the book helps you find your strengths and then build on them.” Whitman senior Tyler Gianchetta agrees with Mr. Perkins’s assessment. “This book was a real eye-opener for me because I had been concentrating solely on turning my weaknesses into strengths,” he said. “This book taught me that it’s more efficient to capitalize on the strengths you already have,” said Tyler, who will be looking to capitalize on his performing arts strengths.

Each year the district’s summer employment program looks to enhance its students “journey to greatness” by both bringing in outside people who help support and positively influence their experience, as with their trip to Bethpage Federal Credit Union, and teaming up with district employees working in various buildings over the summer. “It’s not just about showing up ready to work; it’s about the desire to achieve and learn that drives these students,” said Mr. Perkins.

Chris Corbin, a Whitman senior, feels the book was a good motivator. “Finding my strengths and becoming successful in life is very important to me,” he said.  Chris, who has been told that he shows excellent patience and compassion, is thinking about pursuing a career in special education.

Mr. Stanly Bonilla, an Excel program mentor, was the first to bring the best seller to the attention of Mr. Perkins when he was using the book to help his mentee. “Mentoring is an opportunity to share,” said Mr. Bonilla. “It’s helped me in the past as well as present, and it’s very meaningful for me.” As director of real estate for Addecco, Mr. Bonilla is in charge of over 700 properties across the United States for the international employment giant located in Melville.

“Now more than ever our kids need positive reinforcement,” said Mr. Perkins. “We don’t need to tear them down; we need to build them up.” StrengthsFinder does just that by helping to identify five areas in which a person is doing well and then to take those strengths further by providing ten action plans for each strength. “Our students need to see themselves in a positive light, and that helps them to move forward and deal successfully with the many challenges that come their way,” continued Mr. Perkins.

“There are things that we are all good at, and if we focus on what were good at, we can become great at them,” said Mr. Bonilla. “If we can be come great at something, it’s an opportunity to excel in life. To learn to work with other people who are great at things that compliment our strengths helps to build great teams and great communities and strengthens the world around us.”