On Saturday, the Junior Class had the opportunity to spend some quality time together.
Along with Mr. Quirk and a dozen other faculty members, the class gathered for a focused talk about leadership, as well as to work in small groups doing a few reflective exercises. This opportunity early in the year was designed to have them begin to think about the many ways they could lead here at Tabor both right now, next year as seniors, and in the future beyond the shores of Sippican Harbor.
Mr. Quirk kicked things off by gathering the class around him in Hoyt Hall. He opened our discussion with the idea that leadership can often be related to influence and that influence is typically measured in followers. He allowed that one’s influence can lead followers in a positive or negative direction and that it is important to remember how our actions and attitudes can affect those around us.
Breaking into 10 small groups, the class did a fun communications exercise, about a not so fun scenario. They were charged to work together to unanimously prioritize supplies collected after a plane crash in order to survive in the woods many days before anyone would even realize they were missing. The group needed to listen to each other and to think about the environment and scenario they were in, and then figure out how to work together to complete the task. As they worked through the problem, they grappled with disagreements and had to figure out how to resolve them. When debriefing the exercise, the students noted that some leaders emerge quickly bringing skills of communication and organization, such as process suggestions or offering to take notes or make a list, where other people shone in their ability to remember the facts, or because of special knowledge. Others displayed patience and a willingness to compromise. The exercise helped the juniors see that there is more than one path to leadership.
Next, we asked the students who they admired and why, which led to a guided discussion about the qualities and characteristics of leadership that the students, as individuals, admire. We then asked them to consider themselves as a class and what they collectively might be known for. As they shared their thoughts, it was clear there is a diversity of interest, skill and most importantly pride in their peers. The class of 2021 can clearly see their ability to influence Tabor in a positive direction, with a multitude of leaders in their ranks.
Each year, as we take time to develop the awareness of leadership and a positive attitude in our upperclassman, it improves the experience of our youngest students. We have seen this over and over throughout the years. This process strengthens our community by awakening a desire to make a difference, to be a person of consequence, to be a role model, and to lead.