Roughly 50 students decided to forego their last day of summer vacation to attend Inly School’s 2010 Student Leadership Summit on September 7.
Students from kindergarten, third, sixth, and eighth grade came to learn what it means to be a good leader — both in and out of the classroom.
“Many of you have been in classrooms for quite a while and we are expecting you to be leaders,” Donna Milani Luther told the students before the Summit began. “We are expecting that you are going to help the other children in the classroom and we are expecting that you are going to help them in a very, very respectful way.”
When the students arrived for the afternoon they broke up into different groups with a member of the faculty to discuss what leadership meant to them. Many students used words like “caring” and “understanding” to describe good leadership qualities. The students also were asked to name some people that are leaders, and they answered with the president, their parents, and the faculty of Inly School.
After the discussion the students were put to work.
Each group had to outline one of its members on a large piece of white paper, and write or draw their interpretation of the qualities of a good leader on the inside of the body outline. Many of the groups mentioned that being a good listener was high up on the list, and that a good leader needed to be “responsible” and “caring.”
Kiko C., a sixth grader at Inly, said that having trust in others is a strong leadership quality.
“If you don’t trust people then you won’t get through with a lot of things,” he said.
The students then broke up into their respective age groups and performed a couple tasks.
The sixth and eighth graders were broken up into two groups and were asked to come to a consensus on what the most important items they would need if they were deserted in the desert.
The third graders were asked to role-play on how to deal with “right” and “wrong” situations and how to manage different personalities. While the kindergartners talked about how they would work together in different situations, like inviting a new student into class, and then they acted out how they would deal with the situations.
At the end of the day the original groups were formed and each group had to form a “spider web.” A ball of yarn was tossed back and forth between the students and each student had to explain how they were going to be a good leader this upcoming school year and beyond.
The day only lasted a few hours, but the lessons will hopefully last throughout the year and beyond for the students.
“I learned a lot of people’s different understandings of what a leader is,” Mac M., an eighth grade student, said after the Summit. “I’m going to bring more patience and I’m going to work to understand other people.”