A dash of this, a hint of that. A good student leader is comprised of diverse qualities that encourage cooperation and unity among peers. Different experiences are crucial in shaping each leader as they help establish an individual’s distinct leadership characteristics.
Here at Broughton there are multiple capacities for leadership- clubs, sports, student government, and band just to name a few.
In order to get a more complete picture of what makes a student leader, it is important to examine teachers’ and students’ thoughts.
“I look for students who are responsible, problem-solvers, and take initiative to handle situations. I look for kids who are smart and have good social skills,” band director Margie Harrison said.
The marching band consists of almost 100 members and in turn requires multiple student leaders in order for things to run smoothly. Harrison selected a team of 16 people to fill roles such as section leader, captain, and drum major.
Senior Katie Holt, drum major and co-president of Student Action For the Environment club, stressed the importance of empathy, respect, and knowledge in her roles. She attributes her ability to better understand those around her with the experience of being a part of a group atmosphere like band.
“Serving in my leadership roles has taught me that everyone is different and responds in different ways. You can’t teach a student a piece of information one way and teach the next student the same way,” Holt said.
The Broughton Executive Cabinet had their own thoughts on what ingredients make a good student leader. They all agreed that things such as selflessness, enthusiasm, confidence, and integrity were crucial traits a leader should possess.
“It takes bravery, boldness, sacrifice, hope,” Student Body President Michael Evers-Daley said.
In activities like Student Government, leadership skills are gained through working with others. Learning how to balance responsibilities and delegate tasks to peers are two things it helps with especially.
“With Latipac, staff members have a lot of responsibility and it all relies on everyone working together. Staff need to design their spreads, conduct interviews and polls, photograph events, sell ads, advertise the yearbook, and the list goes on,” yearbook advisor Brianna Castillo said.
Individual experiences also help cultivate commendable leadership qualities in students.
Evers-Daley mentioned how influential his leadership experiences have been. He recalled specifically the fulfillment he felt the Friday after all of the 2016 Homecoming festivities knowing the events were completed and had gone successfully.
Even strenuous situations can make an impact on students. Having to put in a lot of time and effort to pull off all of the Homecoming events surely did not return void for Evers-Daley as he gained a sense of pride and ownership in the school.
“It’s painful, but every night when you go to sleep, what a day,” Evers-Daley said.
Relationships have lasting effects on student leaders too. For example, when club leaders invest in new members, it gives the newcomers a sense of acceptance and pushes them towards involvement and leadership for themselves.
“I have also seen SAFE leaders really step up to the occasion when a member might feel left out, and the officer will step in and make the member feel included and a valuable part of the club. I love it when I see the older members take the new members ‘under their wing’,” SAFE advisor Laura Woods said.
Teachers play an irreplaceable role in students’ leadership development. It is up to them to allot jobs and give responsibilities to students so that they will learn, grow, and have a passion to lead others.
“For committee heads, their job is mostly organizational. For the co-presidents it is running the meetings, coming up with new ideas, how to run an activity and most importantly (which is true for every leader) – if no one shows up or volunteers – it falls to you the leader to do all of the work,” Woods said.
Student leadership is a journey that is never really completed. One can always learn more and be impacted by the changing environment around them. Experiencing new things, working with others, encountering difficulty, and building relationships all combine to create unique leaders who are set apart by their distinct leadership abilities.