“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”John Quincy Adams
Students enter Middle School ready to gain more independence, more knowledge, and more responsibility as they continue to grow. A great introduction to student leadership for Middle School students is participation in clubs that offer opportunities to perform service, build character and develop leadership skills.
Opportunities for Student Leadership
One such club is Builder’s Club, an international student-led organization, affiliated with Kiwanis International, that provides members service and leadership opportunities. At Montverde Academy, Builder’s Club is open to any Middle School student who is willing to work hard and wants to help others by serving their school and community.
Builder’s Club is a student-driven organization where an advisor serves as a coach, providing feedback and assistance. Students come up with one project a month to focus on. It could be creating and hosting a fundraiser such as Pinktober where funds raised are donated to a cancer-focused non-profit, to the annual collection of food in November, or a service project such as students volunteering time to clean up a local park or bake and deliver cookies to local firefighters and police officers. Students do all the planning, delegating tasks, researching non-profits or projects to support, getting appropriate permission, and more.
“I think it’s important to participate in volunteer-based organizations because it helps build character,” said Vaasu Gadiparthi, president of MVA’s Builder’s Club. “Sometimes volunteering doesn’t feel like volunteering because you know you helped the world. I enjoy the intrinsic reward that makes volunteering a great experience. I will use these leadership skills my entire life. Whether it’s building a team as a manager of a company or a martial arts teacher, leadership is one the most essential skills one can learn anytime in their life.”
Another opportunity is the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). NJHS Chapters’ purpose is to create enthusiasm for scholarship; to stimulate a desire to render service; to promote leadership; to encourage responsible citizenship, and to develop character in the students of secondary schools. These purposes also translate into the criteria used for membership selection in each local chapter. This year, the Montverde Academy chapter’s events have been limited, but they are still focused on serving others in the school and broader community, volunteering time to distribute food in the community at Thanksgiving and organizing help for MVA students preparing for mid-term exams for the first time.
“We have a multifaceted goal – we want students to see the value of time, feel the impact of their work and understand the importance of being an active member in their community who can make a difference for others,” said Mr. Paul Quick, MVA Dean of the Middle School. “We are planting seeds in young students who are growing and maturing. We want them to reach their full potential, well-equipped to be a confident, effective leader as an adult.”
MVA’s Middle School students are taking leadership seriously and actively preparing to take on leadership opportunities in as they move into the Upper School.