Eighth Grade Builds ‘Leadership Legacy’
During Weeklong Workshops
Middle School leadership activities allowed eighth graders to focus on their personal strengths and how they can be role models.
Oct. 29, 2015 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Eighth graders have a lot on their minds. They’re making decisions about where to attend high school, tackling increased academic responsibilities and trying to soak up everything Middle School has to offer — all under the watchful eyes of younger grades who look to them as leaders.
Corbett Preparatory School of IDS introduced a new program of middle school leadership activities this month to help its oldest students embrace their roles with “Lead the Way,” a special week that addressed high school and college preparation, goal setting and leadership development.
International Baccalaureate and private high schools visited Corbett Prep during that time to meet with the eighth grade, and speakers from within and outside the Corbett Prep community offered motivational stories and advice. Students learned about leadership skills through Dale Carnegie training and polished their interviewing techniques. Tommy Shannon, community business leader and role model, inspired the audience with his talk. Frameworks of Tampa Bay, a nonprofit organization, kicked off the week with an interactive social and emotional learning program that had students looking closely at themselves to improve positive working relationships with others.
Zakiyyah Aquil, education program coordinator, said Frameworks’ mission was to inspire the eighth graders to think about how they would leave a “leadership legacy.” Shannon Veronesi directed Leadership Day at Corbett Prep, and Aquil, Lisa Rose and Andre Clarke facilitated it. Their message for students: “What they see is what they’ll be!”
Students moved through activities that covered the five core competencies of the Social and Emotional Learning Wheel: self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
Students examined their personal strengths, values and areas of improvement to uncover their leadership qualities. Challenges to balance a ring on a web of strings, build towers out of balloons and other games prompted them to think strategically, communicate effectively and later reflect on how they managed a variety of personalities among the teams.
“We had an absolute blast working with the eighth grade students and staff, and we look forward to coming back next year,” Aquil said.
The “Lead the Way” middle school leadership activities came about after the annual sixth- and seventh-grade trips switched from spring to fall.
Traditionally, during Corbett Prep’s annual New Horizon’s Week in the spring, sixth graders would leave Tampa for special teambuilding activities off campus while seventh grade headed to the mountains for Wolfcreek, an intense junior Outward Bound experience. Eighth grade used that time in for its social studies trip to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.
But, this year, teachers wanted to capitalize on the strong bonds that Wolfcreek and the sixth-grade trip create among the students so they offered the experiences earlier. The eighth grade trip will remain in the spring. Having the Middle School all to themselves made New Horizon’s Week the perfect opportunity for the eighth grade to focus on success strategies throughout life.
Students graduate from Corbett Prep to attend some of the best high schools in the area and from there move on to diverse college programs in the arts, sciences and more. Like their predecessors, the eighth grade class of 2016 seeks an understanding of competent leadership, awareness of their own unique capabilities and insights into the elements of positive interpersonal relationships to help lay the groundwork for success.