Students Discuss What It Means to Be a Leader

Students Discuss What It Means to Be a Leader

On May 18, the first-ever Rising Leaders’ Summit was held at OES. This event brought together a group of fourth, seventh, and eleventh grade students to talk about what it means to be a leader in their next year at OES.

Associate Director of Athletics Missy Smith got the event rolling with a motivational talk about what leadership looks like, in both sports and in everyday school life. Then the students broke into small groups to share ideas while they enjoyed a pizza lunch.

Director of After School and Extension Programs, Chelsea Lamb, who organized the summit, said, “I had the idea for this event during a student support team meeting. We were discussing how our current fourth graders would soon be the leaders of the Lower School and what a pivotal year that is for them. I wondered if the other two divisions would want to partner with me and help select students who show up as leaders in their community. They did, and we came up with a list of ideas for the summit.”

At the event, the Upper School students led the seventh and fourth graders through guided conversational questions such as:

  • How might you inspire and motivate others as a student leader?
  • How do you ensure that all students feel valued and their voices are heard?
  • Describe a time when you failed at something. How do you handle the setback, and what lesson did you learn? 
  • Discuss the importance of leading by example. Can you think of a situation where you've seen this in action?

“The event was 95% student-led, bookended by an adult-led opening and reflection. I’m so proud of our student leaders for stepping outside of their comfort zone and building community cross-divisionally. We plan to meet again in November or December to connect at a mid-year point,” said Lamb.

Comments students shared about leadership included:

  • “Doing little things every day is what makes a good leader.” US student
  • “You can’t be too nice if you want to be a good leader. You also have to have a firm voice.” LS student
  • “If you’re feeling too stressed out from studying, or too tired from practicing—take a break, and go back to it feeling refreshed.” US student (Part of feeling valued is valuing your own school-life balance.)
  • “If my brain starts to feel too full, my teacher says I can go into the peace space and take a five-minute break.” LS student
  • “If you’re doing the same amount of work they are, they are going to respect you as a leader.” LS student
  • “Part of being a good leader is realizing that not everyone is going to agree all the time. You need to be patient, and be open to other people’s ideas.” US student