Leadership by Example: Upper School Prefects and the 3rd Grade Leadership Museum
Each year as our 3rd-grade students complete their social studies unit on leadership, our newly appointed Upper School Prefects visit the Lower School to talk about what it means to be a leader in the Teel Campus community. For our Lower School students, this is an opportunity to talk about leadership in an authentic, relatable framework. For our Prefects, it’s their first official duty going into senior year at Severn.
Through their comprehensive social studies unit on leadership, 3rd-grade teachers Ms. Jennie Kantowski and Ms. Cecily Duda help our students research leaders and leadership strategies that are meaningful and relevant to their lives. The explore concepts like:
Decision making and risk assessment
Creating a lasting impact
The class talks about famous leaders throughout history before each student chooses one contemporary leader to research for their Leadership Museum project. It’s important for our 3rd graders to “see themselves” in this research and make the connection that anyone at any age can make a difference in our world.
"Our students start learning about Mohandas Gandi, then they learn about current, young leaders who have started their own organizations, such as Craig Kielberger of Free the Children. Using their research, they create a 3-dimensional final project that represents their leader and the qualities they exemplify." — Ms. Kantowksi
Because the unit focuses on current, young leaders, the Prefects’ visit is a perfect complement to their study. Our third graders shift focus from leaders out in the world and start to see the value of strong leadership in our own community. To prepare for the visit, third graders created lists of questions to ask the Prefects:
What ideas do you have to be an effective leader?
As a Prefect, explain ways you will get other students engaged to make a positive difference.
Can you share a thought to inspire Lower School students to become leaders?
After interviewing the Prefects, 3rd graders showed them their in-progress projects for the Leadership Museum. The Prefects gave constructive feedback then jumped in with glue guns and markers at the ready to help the 3rd graders complete their work. The group took a mid-morning break outside before returning to finish their projects in the classroom. Our Upper School Prefects know that an important part of leadership is building community and engaging others. They were eager to demonstrate that to our 3rd graders out on the field!
“It was amazing to see the third graders collaborate with the Prefects on a project that was hands-on, creative and enriching.” — Ms. Kantowski
A First Step for Our Class of 2019 Prefects
Senior Prefects are selected from the junior class in the spring to serve as senior student leaders. After going through a rigorous application and interview process, students are selected for their leadership potential, integrity, and their commitment to our community. The visit with our 3rd grade is the first of many duties they will take on during their remaining time at Severn. It’s a fun way to kick start their new positions, while also modeling good leadership and character for our younger students.. In addition to this visit, Prefects participate in a leadership workshop in the fall, assist with the transition to Upper School for 9th graders all year, and plan the new student orientation, homecoming, and other social events. They also act as assistant class advisors and participate in admissions events.