Students lead with virtues

From Casey Harris, Randleman Middle School, Randolph County, NC

In February I decided to start a leadership class in our middle school. I asked my principal about it and he was on board.  I didn’t have a curriculum, so I started with the six virtues of the educated person.  Humility, courage, and strong character were the foundation of the class.

One of the neatest things was that the students began to reciprocate the virtues they were learning, by investing in others with leadership potential.  For example, we talked about having the courage to do the right thing.  It doesn’t matter who we are around or what kind of situation it is, it is imperative to do the right thing. They needed to know that it takes courage to take a stand. Anyone can go out and make the world ugly by doing the wrong things. Mistakes are fine, as long as you have the courage to learn from them.

We had a kid in class who wanted to invest in another kid in the school.  He believed this kid just needed to hang around the right people.  So I told him that if he was going to be the guy who was supposed to set the example, then he would have to have the courage to take a stand by doing the right things himself.

To my amazement the kid responded.  He began to exhibit leadership qualities.  He not only made great strides himself, but I could see changes in the other kid as well.  Their grades began to improve, and more importantly their conduct.

It’s funny how we tend to make things far too complex.  The simplest ideas and actions have the most meaning.


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