Layers of Leadership: Engagement and Empowerment

Posted by Scott Allenby

10/03/2019

We thrive when our entire body is healthy, when blood pumps through every vein and we tune into the interconnectedness of individual parts as we operate the whole. The same goes for communities. We are only healthy when every layer of our community feels engaged, heard, and empowered to effect change. 

Proctor Academy Prep School New England

During Monday’s assembly, School Leaders Vienna Marcus ‘20 and Hitch Graham ‘20 announced the elected class representatives for each grade. These peer-elected students will meet regularly as a member of student leadership, helping set policies, craft proposals on rule changes to faculty, and serve as critical liaisons between the student body and faculty. These formally elected student leadership positions are essential, however, they are only the surface of the student engagement that allows our community to be its best. 

Proctor Academy Prep School New England

Elected leadership opportunities extend to dorm leaders, team captains, and day student leaders; each individual charged with guiding, nurturing, and holding accountable a group of students brought together through a shared aspect of life at Proctor. We do not recognize the work of these students often enough, and yet daily rely on these students to navigate one of the most challenging landscapes in high school: peer accountability. 

Proctor Academy Prep School New England

Peel back another layer of leadership at Proctor and you will find some of the most committed, passionate, responsible young people at the school. These unheralded leaders start or oversee a club on campus centered around a passion or shared mission. Managing the Coffee House, leading Proctor Environmental Action, Diversity Committee, Alliance, Proctor Academy Screening Club, or the Investment Club requires students to plan, organize, and manage. These students grow into leadership roles over time, learning from older students and faculty sponsors, as they come to understand group dynamics. Without these students taking the initiative to care enough to act, our community would feel incomplete. 

Proctor Academy Prep School New England

Another layer of leadership reveals students who seek to serve. They step in to guide tours as a part of the Green Key program. They volunteer their time, energy, and experience as Big Brothers or Big Sisters. These servant leaders selflessly give up their afternoons and early evenings to volunteer at local soup kitchens and food pantries. They understand the opportunity they have to positively impact the lives of others, and eagerly do so despite their busy lives as boarding school students. 

Proctor Academy Prep School New England

Then there are all those students who simply lead by example, who simply go about their daily work with integrity and kindness. They are not elected and do not have to meet some arbitrary age requirement or social status to be effective. They rarely stand up in assembly to make an announcement about a meeting time or game recap, but they understand they have an ownership stake in Proctor’s culture, and act accordingly. When others observe this quiet leadership by example they are inspired to care. And when all of these layers of student leadership roles interact, the whole of our body starts to come into its own. 

That is what’s happening right now as we enter the second month of the academic year. The hard work of all these leaders starts to pay dividends for the school, and as adults in the community, we could not be more grateful! 

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