Examining student leadership


According to Answers.com, a leader is a person who leads or commands a group or organization. High school students show leadership in clubs, academia and social groups. LRHS clubs and sports teams offer leadership opportunities, but it is uncertain whether or not students already have potential or if these positions develop leadership.

Students take on leadership roles in classroom groups in order to guide their fellow peers toward success. Followers in turn look up to leaders for guidance in attaining leadership skills. Followers are an important part of the success of clubs, groups or sports teams.

Sports captains and club presidents alike are selected to lead a group of students with similar interests towards a common purpose and goal.

Grace Dorman, senior and president of National Honors Society, defines a leader as “someone who is willing to serve the people who are following them, not just telling people what to do.”

As the oldest of seven children in her family, Dorman believes the ability to lead is innate and
leading service projects for NHS has enhanced the quality of her leadership ability.

“I’ve had to be the leader in most situations. There are more opportunities to lead clubs like NHS in high school, and I feel most comfortable collaborating with others to serve the people of NHS in that position.”

Evan Parker, senior and quarterback of Leesville’s varsity football team, thinks that leadership is grown over a process of learning and development, rather than being born a leader. In Parker’s experience, the road to leadership is paved through hard work and determination.

“We all have the ability to be a leader. I think having the experience of being in a situation where you have to use these skills helps to develop them.”

Parker shares a key role Leesville’s football victories, but attributes the school’s record to work put in by all players.

“[As quarterback], a lot of attention is placed on you, not necessarily for your leadership abilities, but it needs to be a selfless position. It’s not one for someone that wants attention. The best leaders aren’t the ones that are out in front of the cameras all the time, but are the glue, whether it’s a business, a team or a study group.”

Leaders and followers working cohesively as an organized team is what keeps the glue of a group together. Rani Corak, junior and member of NHS, agrees with Parker that leadership is learned, but feels it isn’t for everyone.

“I think leaders are made through the experiences they go through. I feel like NHS leaders are kids to look up to because they’ve worked really hard to get where they are academically and socially. Even though they’re good role models, I need to take my own path. It doesn’t matter if that makes me a follower, we’re all working together in NHS to handle more responsibilities like service hours.”

While some students are content in an assisting role, others seek leadership positions for personal fulfillment. Alec Way, sophomore and secretary of political club, finds a sense of belonging and self direction through leading students in political discussions.

“For me, the weekly political club and officer meeting rotation is the thing I look forward to most at school. My place as secretary is definitely teaching me leadership skills, because I’m thrown into a setting where others rely on me. I have responsibilities that I can’t shrug off without expecting repercussions. The officers are completely necessary to make any club function. Without organization, all systems fail.”

Leadership is perceived in a variety of ways, meaning different things to different people. Sean Bryant, former vice president of Computer Club (which is no longer a club), disagrees with Way that club leadership is necessary. Bryant never felt the same satisfaction or personal growth and argues that leading a club does not cultivate leadership.

“Computer Club did not help me develop useful skills. Giving someone the title of a club officer or leader doesn’t really help our future or change anything.”

Clubs and sports only cover a certain aspect of leadership available at Leesville. Any student could begin volunteering at school, tutoring or creating in and after school programs. Effective leaders must accept new responsibilities and challenges to grow and improve their ability to lead.

Leadership possibilities are limited only by school rules. Student leadership begins by taking an initiative to lead peers by example.

Everyone has leadership potential. As Parker states: “We all have the ability to be a leader if we try.”


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