Over the past few months, the fifth graders at Boys’ Latin have risen to the occasion of being big brothers to their kindergarten and pre-first “buddies.” Their teachers have watched their personal transformations as they assumed their responsibilities as role models to their little brothers. The younger boys, in turn, learn so much through these friendships, which for many is their first with an older peer.
Now, as the fifth graders prepare for their futures as middle and upper schoolers, they too have the opportunity to learn from their older peers and hone the leadership skills that are so integral to their BL experience.
On Tuesday morning, five upper school students from the leadership track of the LAUNCH class joined the fifth grade to lead the first part of a two-part leadership workshop. Through a combination of large and small group discussions, the boys explored the connection between being good leaders and being good friends.
“Being a good friend is not just something you need to know in fifth grade but something you need to know your entire life,” explains BL junior Blake Shepherd.
The workshop, which was facilitated by Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach Brian Farrell, aimed to build confidence and brotherly kindness in each student and to show each one how he could be a leader. In his opening remarks, Farrell reminded the fifth graders that BL not only stands for Boys’ Latin, but for “building leaders” as well. Then, the boys broke out into small groups, where they examined what it means to live out the school’s motto Esse Quam Videri: to be, rather than to seem. They also reflected on the impact that their actions can have on others.
“This morning really speaks to who we are as a school,” observes Farrell. “We talk a lot about brothers helping brothers and the importance of giving back. Our [upper school] guys have really invested a lot of themselves in being better leaders and teaching the next generation how to live out our motto. They are showing each boy how to be a better friend, a better leader and a better member of this community.”
Lower School Head Kathy Arnold agrees. “The power of an experience like this where our upper school students are working directly with the lower school boys cannot be put into words,” says Arnold, who sees the workshop as another extension of Boys’ Latin’s experiential, hands-on approach to learning. “Having the upper school boys come here and talk about their experiences with leadership and what it looks like is so much more meaningful than if a teacher lectures about it. I am so proud of our upper school boys for sharing their real-life journey and where they have seen leadership in others.”
The second part of the workshop will take place in early May and the experience will culminate in a three-day camping trip at the end of May. During the trip, the fifth graders will participate in a variety of team-building and leadership activities.