This past Monday, Grade 5 students gathered in the Junior School assembly to celebrate their success as young leaders in the making and to witness the annual leadership ‘pinning’ rite of passage.
Students from Kindergarten and up, along with faculty, parents, guardians, and supportive adults, took part in a morning filled with joy, music, and memorable remarks signifying the successful leadership training acquired by learners in both Grade 5 classes.
“At SMUS, we believe that good leadership is a process of engagement, moving from understanding to action in an environment inspired by trust,” said Junior School Director Becky Anderson, in her opening presentation.
“Each and every child in this building is capable of being a good leader, and we talk about that a lot through what happens in the classroom, and what happens in the playground, and what happens out in the community,” Mrs. Anderson added, before introducing students from Grades 5K and 5H who each presented individual speeches themed on Leadership.
Students reflected on their respective definitions of leadership, their role models—both personally and public people of influence—as well as the significant responsibilities they each have in the Junior School as role models themselves, particularly for the younger students who look up to them and learn to lead by their example.
“Leadership means being respectful, including, and helping others,” said Brad, who presented the first of several student speeches.
“An example of someone showing leadership is my soccer coach because he is patient and always tries to make everyone better.”
For student Shae, exemplary leaders are ‘kind’ and ‘patient.’ He cites his mother as a personal role model “because she takes the time out of her day to help with my homework.”
He also shared that he’s a fan of soccer star Cristiano Rinaldo “because he inspired me to play soccer.”
Student Estella remarked that for her, leadership is all about making good decisions and “taking responsibility for your actions.”
“An important characteristic of leadership is being brave and confident but also kind and empathetic. To be a leader you must be understanding. This year I will show leadership by helping in the library and with younger students at recess,” said Estella.
Finn echoed his classmate, noting the importance of being a role model for younger students and making them feel welcomed.
“If a little kid sees you helping, they’re going to help too,” he said.
Along with SMUS’ dedication to helping students to become great global citizens and to develop effective empathy, communication, and critical thinking skills, Mrs. Anderson explained that a key aspect of SMUS’ leadership training is that it “builds at every stage … all the way through to Grade 12, where Grade 12s are having an impact on all of the events that happen around the school.”
For Grade 5 student Ella, a leader is “someone that shows empathy and positivity.” She points to her grandmother who taught Ella how to play cribbage.
“I wasn’t very good at first and kept messing up. But she was always so patient with me,” said Ella, adding this year, she looks forward to “eating lunch with the little kids and helping out in the library,” as well as “looking out for everybody around me.”
Following the wise words witnessed by the assembly audience, the pinning ceremony was underway with Mrs. Anderson presenting the Grade 5 students with their special pins representing the important roles and responsibilities they now have in the Junior School and as leaders throughout their time at SMUS and beyond.