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Are Flamingos Good Leaders?

By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
How fourth graders model leadership in the Lower School.

Before the official kick-off to the 2021–2022 academic year, more than 30 fourth graders arrived on campus ready to learn how they can become successful leaders of the Lower School. They were greeted by Head of Lower School Payton Hobbs and Assistant Head of Lower School Marsha Poh who facilitated the inaugural Fourth-Grade Leadership Workshop. 

The workshop served as a launching pad to position students to start seeing themselves as leaders and developing leadership concepts and skills. 

First up, the fourth graders brainstormed what it takes to be a good leader, who can be a leader and why leaders are important. When asked what animals have the traits or qualities of a leader, tigers and lions were popular responses. Once they started making connections and thinking creatively, answers ranged from a flamingo because they are good at balancing to a mama bear because she protects those who may not be able to protect themselves.

Sean Spence ’30 chose ants and bees because they work together for a common goal and giraffes because they can warn other creatures when they see a predator approaching from their high viewpoint. 

Jacinta Del Rio ’30 picked dogs because they are good companions who will take care of their family and keep them safe.

As newly appointed leaders and the “big kids” of the Lower School, they discussed how they can best look out for others, work together and be role models.

In keeping with the Lower School’s theme of community building this year, students also talked about what aspects define a community and what it means to feel welcomed and included. They reflected on how they can be welcoming to others. To show the other students and teachers they care, students created posters for each grade level and the teacher’s lounge, wrote cards to new students and faculty, and painted colorful, cheerful rocks to scatter around campus.

“We wanted to include students in our vision for the distributive leadership model,” explains Mrs. Hobbs. “We saw enough interest and possibilities that with time, we can be even more strategic and create a fourth-grade leadership program experience that would build on these concepts and skills and be reinforced by our educators throughout the school year.”
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