Opportunities for Student Leadership for Middle and High School Students
Leadership skills aren’t just for leaders. Learning to lead means learning to organize, maintain, plan, and develop these skills in a way that carries throughout our lives. Leadership can also bolster behavior and responsibility at home, fostering a capability in independence students can carry into adulthood. Students who learn leadership skills at a young age can get a better grasp on their goals and how to work with others to achieve these goals.
Entering middle and upper school comes with the novelty of exploring interests and finding ourselves. Navigating the various leadership roles you can play helps recognize which will benefit their growth; these activities are in abundance. Leadership promotes hard work and decision-making and contributes to every learning environment. This blog aims to guide you through leadership opportunities, both in school and beyond.
Volunteering and internships
Although many programs and activities can be accessed through your school, venturing outside of the classroom provides insight and leadership roles in the world around us. Finding a soup kitchen or library event to volunteer at can provide your student with necessary skills in communication and responsibility. You can find these opportunities throughout your community in clean-up programs for parks, helping out at community centers, and in various programs and institutions like Meals on Wheels, Americorps (Youthbuild), or the ASPCA. Many programs cater to high school, but there are plenty of programs, like Feeding America, who enroll students ages 12+.
Beyond volunteering, many students are able to find a more focused path to leadership through internships. For instance, a student might be inclined to learn more about music and reach out to their local theater in hopes of shadowing or interning a play. Just by reaching out, you can create opportunities that cater to your interests.
Student government is a tried and true method of introducing children to leadership roles. Most schools have a form of student government, and running for office is a fantastic choice for instilling responsibility into your life. In most student governments, each leadership team member has an appointed position connected to their own area of unique genius and/or expertise, as they lead, collaborate, and delegate tasks for a variety of projects.
Finding leadership in clubs
Clubs at school aren’t just for finding new hobbies. Most schools offer a wide variety of options in extracurriculars, and your student should seize this opportunity to build leadership skills. Each activity helps students recognize their abilities and the value of their interpersonal relationships, all contributing to leadership development. Many people wouldn’t recognize high school band as an opportunity to lead, but in reality, learning to wrangle and take charge of musicians is in and of itself a position of leadership and responsibility.
Finding an extracurricular or sport provided by your student’s school is the perfect way to introduce them to new interests while encouraging leadership roles and values. Athletic options often involve a level of teamwork, tapping into leadership roles in a group setting. Many clubs channel camaraderie in ways that your student can seize and learn from like environmentalism, musicianship, social awareness, and much more. The important part is getting your student involved in their community and understanding the impact of their efforts!
Leadership opportunities for Laurel Springs School students
Opportunities for real-world leadership opportunities are a pillar of the Laurel Springs School Social Community. Using student-led innovation, we let students tell us what they want to learn, know, and do as leaders, allowing both guidance and self-directed leadership. Getting into leadership roles throughout your middle and high school career aids you in finding your community, building your resume, and standing out in college applications.
“Student leadership opportunities begin for all grade levels within individual clubs,” says Laurel Springs Student Engagement Manager Rachelle Wafer. “Club members can lead presentations and discussions in Book Club; share what they know about the placebo effect in Scrubs Club; outline an equine medicine routine in Equestrian Club, or answer the question, exactly how big is a black hole in the night sky in Astronomy Club.”
Laurel Springs School provides extensive Student Government opportunities, including a student counsel. And, Student Ambassadors sign up to be active and visible members of the social community, where they welcome new students throughout the virtual campus—including hangouts, on our private social network, and events. At most events, they also serve as hosts, sharing information, as well as personal experiences.
Every second Thursday in October of each school year is the annual Laurel Springs Election Convention. Students in grades K-12 register to vote, attend the convention to learn about the experience of each candidate, and cast their votes for the Student Government President and Vice President. These two elected officials then serve as leaders for the Laurel Springs Student Government Leadership Team.
“Leadership opportunities expand as experience is gained,” she continues. “Model United Nations Club elects a General Assembly President and four committee chairs to simulate the United Nations way of problem-solving and discovering solutions for countries around the world. The Creative Publishing Clubs appoint twelve experienced club members as editors in three genres (Poetry, Photography, and Creative Writing) to process club submissions, lead peer feedback sessions, and publish an annual literary magazine. All members act as members of a magazine staff and the experienced, trained editors lead members--making sure to allow for each artist's unique, individual voice.”
Clubs like these are just the tip of the iceberg. The fact of the matter is that Laurel Springs provides a plethora of student leadership opportunities that we encourage all learners to seek. These clubs provide a foundation for learning in which students take on roles of responsibility and further their leadership skills. Student life is vibrant here, and we welcome all students to partake. Our vast list of clubs and activities cater to any individual student’s pastimes and exposes them to new interests along the way; time to find out where your student will thrive!
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