The schedule was as follows: Mr. Jeswald, the Interim Head of the Middle School, welcomed everyone, as we then broke off into our groups. A Haverford boy was paired with either a GA girl or a Baldwin girl, and these two senior leaders had roughly 8 to 10 kids in their group. Half the groups started with a Self-Awareness workshop lead by Ms. Wujcik from the Baldwin School, in which the students wrote their name on different posters around the room with different categories like Sibling or Artist or Athlete. This activity allowed the students to dig deep into the activities they were involved in and begin to understand and recognize their strengths because once you become aware of your strengths its important to try to use them in a beneficial way. The other half of the groups started with a Communication workshop led by Mr. Wright. This session created an interactive atmosphere where the students went to three different parts of the room based on what they thought the most important quality of leadership was; these three options were listening, nonverbal communication, and communicating with consistency. The students had the task of persuading those in the other two groups to join theirs, opening up the floor for a healthy debate that did encourage some movement from group to group. In the end, we came to the consensus that all three skills are important to being a successful and well-rounded leader.
|Middle and Upper School students from across the Inter-Ac converged on GA as part of the leadership conference. Here, they engage in group activities around the Quad.|
After these two workshops, Mr. Brady from the Haverford School led the teamwork sessions. The first activity was a ball activity where all members of the group had to pass the ball to the person next to them and say their name as fast as they could. My group started out standing in a circle and performing the task, getting a time of 9 seconds. But after discussion and reasoning, my group decided upon a ‘waterfall’ type of technique that eventually got our group to 2.8 seconds. The next activity was difficult for several of the groups, including mine; the students were asked to create the tallest structure they could out of spaghetti and tape, with a marshmallow at the top of the creation. These two activities challenged these kids who had never met before that day to work together in a productive way in order to accomplish their common goal.The last workshop of the day prompted the students with a letter from their heads or deans, giving them a real issue from their individual school for which they were asked to come up with a solution. It allowed the students to rally with their school and utilize their strengths to form a probable solution. After this planning, a few representatives from each group presented their ideas to everyone.
This type of learning environment is exactly what I wish I got to experience in Middle School. I’m glad that I was able to be a part of this day and I hope that it will continue so that others can have the same opportunity. I was personally very impressed with the amount of passion and enthusiasm that these students had. They were fully engaged in every workshop and you could tell that they truly wanted to be there. It was inspiring for me, as a high school student who is only a few years older than these Middle School students, to see them so devoted that it gave me great hope for our future within the GA community and globally.
~ Kaela G. '15