The third annual Leadership Retreat for Upper School students was held August 11 on the Merrell Road Campus. The goal was to offer students an opportunity to explore the meaning of leadership, understand its impact at ESD and beyond, and practice the qualities and skills necessary to be effective.
Over 140 freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors were invited to participate. This diverse group of student-leaders included members of student council, vestry, ambassadors, affinity and alliance clubs, music honors society, athletic team captains, newspaper staff, and class officers. Several faculty and staff also attended, including Hobson Family Head of School Dave Baad and Head of Upper School Henry Heil. The all-day event provided space for meaningful conversations among students, faculty, and administrators, many of which they may not interact with regularly.
Heil said, "Leadership is often thought of as having a title or being loud. An effective way of teaching emotional intelligence and empathy is to expose students to different leadership types, present situations they will actually have to face, and provide a safe space where they can practice with their peers."
Smaller breakout groups of students rotated through workshops facilitated by faculty who modeled various types of leadership styles. Students role-played situations they may encounter in their specific position. Students also met with their leadership teams and planned future activities.
"Developing student-leaders is a continual process of building and not a one-time event," Heil said.
Leadership programming continues throughout the year and the curriculum.