Students are perfecting their communication skills through impromptu speeches and group conversations. For some, it is the most uncomfortable part of the day, even when classmates encourage them to keep going and clap at all the right moments. Others realize they have a natural gift for public speaking, and are excited to explore how this gift might be used in the future.
Communication is just one of the eight themes covered in our year long Leadership Academy. Every six weeks a new theme is introduced, and includes two sessions and one field trip.
Each student also has their own mentor who helps them internalize the material they are learning in class.
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NINA: Age 15
“The Who is a Leader theme is about standing up for what is right and what we believe in. We learned about G-Life which are our five core values: Growth, Love, Integrity, Family, and Excellence. We learned these at the first session and practiced them at every session during the year. Growth means growing out of our old habits into our new selves. Love means to respect and honor one another. Integrity means doing the right thing when no one is watching. Family is having each others’ backs, and Excellence is always doing your best. Self awareness is all about you and your life. You have likes, dislikes, fears, and talents and they all make up who you are. It is about knowing yourself and being who you were made to be. I was very shy before Leadership Academy but through getting to know myself and practicing, I’ve learned that I love speaking and am very good at it.”
Tizon: age 14
“In the Building Ties theme we talked about relationships and how to communicate better. To demonstrate boundary setting we played a game called ‘Circle Simon Says’. All of the students stood in three different circles which represented the types of relationships you have. The inner circle represents your close friends, the middle circle represents your normal friends, and the outer circle represents your acquaintances. You have a different kind of relationship with each group and need to set different kinds of boundaries with each. In Conflict Resolution we learned to deal with conflict and gain the tools to help defuse situations. We got to go to a karate academy and learn some basic postures and moves to defend ourselves and others around us. I personally learned how to communicate better and also the difference between hearing and listening.”
Anna: Age 19
“Learning about Finance and Budgeting has taught me a lot. Matt spoke about delayed gratification and how it will help us save for what we really want. For example, say I want to go to Raising Canes and I only have ten dollars. I first have to figure out if there is anything else I need to spend money on this week. Getting four pieces of chicken might not be the wisest decision because then I will not have money later. We also played the “donut game” and it sucked. We had to pick out a donut and not eat it until the end of the session. If we didn’t eat it we could earn a second donut but if we did eat it we could only have one. I learned how to save and invest in my future instead of spending it all now. I look forward to starting college this fall and continuing to learn about saving. Who is a Leader taught us how to apply what we learned throughout the year. We created Breakthrough Plans helping us envision goals for the future. My 2020 goal is to set healthy boundaries and communicate better with those around me.”