A  circle of participants during orientation for Lincoln Academy's Leadership in Action Conference.

A circle of participants during orientation for Lincoln Academy’s Leadership in Action Conference.

On Saturday, April 30 Lincoln Academy hosted a “Leadership in Action” conference for middle school students from local sending schools. “The main goal for Saturday’s workshop was to have a positive impact on the LA community, specifically incoming students from sending schools,” said Aaron Gonzales, an LA junior from Spain who was one of the organizers of the conference. “We wanted to demonstrate the importance of leadership in different aspects of Lincoln Academy and nowadays society.”

Workshops during the day were designed to engage young people in challenging conversations about important topics such as Leadership in Sports and the Arts, Women in Leadership, Understanding Racial Diversity and Civil Rights, among others.

“Turnout was smaller than we hoped,” said Ken Stevenson, Lincoln Academy’s Director of Resident Life, who teaches a leadership class at LA and helped students organize the conference, “but we’ve started the process where Lincoln students can clearly see the impact that they can have on the school as a whole. Students organized every aspect of the day and it was great to see them discover what they are capable of.”

Jake Abbott, Director of Alternative Education and Work Based Learning said, “The dedication of our student leaders is what inspires me every day at Lincoln Academy.  They care deeply for each other, the student body, the school and the community.  It is through their ongoing leadership that we are able to continually celebrate a vibrant school culture where individual differences are embraced and encouraged.”  

Ira Michaud is the Assistant Principal at Great Salt Bay, one of Lincoln Academy’s sending schools. He spent some time at the conference observing the leadership activities and said, “my students who attended the LA Leadership Conference had nothing but glowing comments… They were impressed by the thoughtful and inspirational sessions on leadership that were clearly and passionately delivered by the international students. They were also ecstatic to have the opportunity to connect with students who could tell them what Lincoln life is like for students.”

Riley Stevenson (L) and Grace Canny (R) were two of the middle school participants in Lincoln Academy's Leadership in Action conference.

Riley Stevenson (L) and Grace Canny (R) were two of the middle school participants in Lincoln Academy’s Leadership in Action conference.

Grace Canny is an eighth grader at Great Salt Bay School, and she attended Saturday’s workshop. “I am planning to come here [to Lincoln Academy] next year, and this seemed like a good way to get to know the school a little bit,” she said. “It definitely made me feel more comfortable about coming here in the fall.”

One of Canny’s favorite workshops was called ‘Leadership by Procrastination.’ “It was really about passive leadership, and the idea that if you are too directive you make people less creative… it definitely made me think about leadership in my own life.”

“I think it would have been better if there had been more people,” said Riley Stevenson, a GSB seventh grader who also attended Saturday’s workshop. “Still, I am really glad I came. It is important to start learning these ideas about leadership when we are young.”

The Lincoln Academy student organizers are already hard at work determining ways to make the Leadership in Action conference better next year. One of the most important conclusions that the students have reached is the importance of figuring out better ways to make the event appealing to local middle school students. “In the discussions we’ve already had in leadership class, the students are clearly committed to doing this again next year as they continue to experience first-hand the challenges of leadership,” says Ken Stevenson, “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”