Torch - Fall 2015

s one of this year’s Senior Year Presidents and last year’s co-chairs for Havergal’s Gay-Straight Alliance,

Grade 12 student Stephanie Fung is increasingly an expert on leadership at Havergal. A student here since Grade 5, she laughs knowingly when asked whether students ever hear the word “leader” floating around. “A lot!” she says. Fung even has a ready definition: “It’s about trust and responsibility. Being a leader takes commitment and reliability, especially when people are depending on you.”

think schools need to be pretty deliberate about recognizing and celebrating and naming as leadership.” Kate White, Assistant Head, Junior School, recalls a specific instance that illustrates Martin’s point. “It’s a small example, but I think it’s really an important one,” says White, describing a student who struggled as a newcomer last year trying to navigate the new environment and then, in turn, tried to make the transition easier on someone else. “This year, at Harvest Festival, as the children were coming into the Brenda Robson Hall, she went and specifically sought out one of this year’s new students and brought her over and asked her if she wanted to play. Then she went and introduced her to her family. To me, that is leadership. She wasn’t asked to do it. She didn’t know that I happened to be watching. It was borne out of empathy and kindness. That student was living the values of the school. That’s ultimately what we want,” says White.

That’s not to say it’s not fun; for example, Fung says her current role means she’s gotten to know a lot of the girls much better. “I get to talk to people I normally wouldn’t, and this is our last year, so it means a lot,” she says. Although opportunities for formal leadership are most plentiful for Grade 12 students preparing for that move into the world beyond Havergal, these days the school’s key mantra on the topic is that not all leadership happens formally. “One of our goals at Havergal is to broaden the definition of leadership,” says Gillian Martin, Assistant Head, Senior School. “I think many young people—and sometimes even many adults—get a little narrow in their definition. ‘Everyday leadership’ is the phrase that we use, which is to say mentoring a younger student or being a tutor or even stopping in the hall and noticing that someone is in need. It’s those everyday leadership moments that I



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