Learning How to be Leaders
Fenn boys are encouraged to be leaders. They are selected by their peers and/or teachers to serve in roles including president and vice president of the School, chairs of committees, captains of teams, class senators, Peer Advocates, band officers, and Big Brothers. They lead in different ways—quietly, by example, or more visibly, in high profile positions—but their goal is to guide, motivate, and inspire their fellow students.
“To look out and see all of those faces looking back at me—knowing that the younger boys are listening and maybe aspiring to be in my position—is amazing,” notes ninth grader Alex, who is student body president this year. “It is a great opportunity to be able to lead the community and serve as a role model.”
Alex runs All School Meeting on Fridays, standing in front of the stage as the youngest students look up at him with awe. He has learned to feel comfortable standing in front of his classmates and teachers, introducing speakers, calling on students and faculty who make announcements, and leading the gathering in song.
Stephon, another ninth grader, was named a captain of the varsity football team last fall. He helps out in the school store, is a member of the Diversity Committee, sings with the a cappella group, and serves as a Big Brother to a fourth grader. Stephon joined the community two years ago, having been prepared by Steppingstone Academy in Boston for the opportunity to attend an independent school. Stephon coaches children on his former Pop Warner football team, the Mission Hill Fenway Buccaneers. “I love being able to teach them how to play the game safely,” he says, and adds that modeling discipline on the field—and in the classroom—is important to him.
Another football co-captain, Dalton, is the only eighth grader to serve in that position in Coach Nat Carr’s memory. Dalton “put the team’s needs in front of his own,” Nat says, “and led by example, giving one hundred percent in practices and games and earning his teammates’ respect.”
Eighth grader James is passionate about engineering and design and is a leader in Fenn’s technology initiatives. He has worked as a student mentor during the Hour of Code event held on campus for the last two years. Fellow eighth grader David demonstrates leadership as a Peer Advocate, helping to mediate conflicts among his classmates, and he serves as vice president of the Concert Band and trombone section leader, guiding his fellow musicians through their music.
Leadership is not only in evidence in the Upper School. Seventh grader Conrad, for example, founded and runs the Middle School Debate Club and Junior Model U.N., serving as the moderator during debates. For the last few years James, now an eighth grader, has served as an ambassador on campus for Heading Home, a Boston-based program that locates and readies permanent housing for homeless people. He has recruited several volunteers from the Fenn community.
The way to help others, these boys demonstrate, is by showing the way. As Stephon says, “To lead people to do great things is my goal.”