Today’s independent schools are characterized by their student leaders. From the masterful mathematician to the aspiring actor, the outspoken activist to the recalcitrant role model, meet the boys and girls who lead area independent schools and carry forth their missions.
At Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, student leaders walk the halls in all shapes and sizes. They emerge in the classroom, on the athletic field, on stage, and, most importantly, as those who serve as role models for their peers.
Seniors Lowell and Braden embody this idea. While both serve as officers in clubs and organizations, it is their leadership in and out of the classroom that makes them stand out.
Lowell, a BL “lifer” serves on the honor board and is a leader in the diversity club. His course load includes several AP classes, which he balances with his role as a midfielder on the varsity lacrosse team. His teammate, Braden, joined the Class of 2020 as a sixth-grader. As the oldest of five brothers, Braden inherently understands what leadership means. He shows his school pride in his roles as student body president, student admissions ambassador and member of the One Love Club, an organization dedicated to teaching students about healthy relationships.
Together, Lowell and Braden represent the characteristics for which Boys’ Latin boys are known: well-rounded students who challenge themselves academically, contribute to the school community, and most importantly, know and support one another. Inspired by the school’s motto, which highlights courage, integrity and compassion, Boys’ Latin boys work together to achieve academic, athletic, and extracurricular success.
On campus, a palpable spirit of brotherhood resonates. Lowell and Braden recognize that this is what distinguishes their school and also what drives them to lead. Visit boyslatinmd.com for open house dates at Boys’ Latin School of Maryland.
Garrison Forest School
Since 1910, Garrison Forest has been educating girls and young women. Within its 110-acre campus, the school endeavors each day to inspire its day and boarding students to lead and serve with lives of passion, purpose and joy.
The preparation begins with encouraging students from kindergarten through 12th grade to find their voice and use it to create and make change. Girls become leaders, for one another and the future. In the process, they learn what lies at the heart of a Garrison Forest education: a lasting sense of friendship and community that unites students, faculty, and administrators.
Senior Ryleigh and junior Annie are teammates, friends, and school leaders.
Elected as the 2019-2020 co-spirit captain, Ryleigh embodies the enthusiasm that permeates Garrison Forest and the traditions that tie its rich history with its forward-facing curriculum. At all-school events, games, and celebrations, Ryleigh will don her spirit tunic, decorated by generations of Garrison Forest spirit captains, to rally school-wide pride. As a leader of the field hockey team, Ryleigh carries her devotion to the school onto the athletic field as well, encouraging other players to give their all and do their best. For her, Garrison Forest has been home for 13 years, and she looks to her senior year with mixed emotions.
Like Ryleigh, Annie competes on the field hockey team and also plays lacrosse and squash, experiences that fuel her school pride. But it is the violence prevention non-profit the One Love Foundation, focused on preventing domestic abuse, that inspires Annie’s quest for change. As a co-leader of the One Love club, Annie increases awareness about relationship abuse and rallies support for this vital cause. She also shares the Garrison Forest experience with prospective families as a Grizzly Guide for the admissions office.
At Garrison Forest, leaders wear many costumes and take on many roles — from spirit tunics to athletic gear, from vocal advocates to dedicated scholars, embracing each one and growing empowered to use their voices in meaningful ways. Visit gfs.org for open house dates at Garrison Forest School.
Every day at McDonogh School, students are discovering passions, developing LifeReady skills, and becoming people of strong character who will make a difference in the world. At the heart of the school’s vibrant 800-acre campus is the Rosenberg Campus Green, a popular spot where students of all ages congregate, collaborate, and socialize. The space, recently the site for the lower school math carnival and an all-school art pop-up day, is where a few students gathered to talk about their McDonogh experience.
Teddy, an eighth-grader, was still buzzing about the opportunity to play “Donkey” in the cross-divisional production of Shrek. The spring musical provided the perfect platform for the aspiring actor to stretch himself and get to know other middle and upper school students who were part of the cast and crew. He was thrilled with the support the show received from the entire community and his love for school grew even greater from the experience.
Maya, a senior who is very active in many aspects of school life, has made her mark at McDonogh as a leader of the D4M (Diversity for McDonogh) club. Drawing on the school’s commitment to be a welcoming and inclusive community, she recently helped plan Diversity Week, an event that united various student-led diversity clubs and featured activities that encouraged self-discovery and offered opportunities for upper schoolers to share in and learn about the different experiences each student brings. As Maya looks toward college, she cannot help but compare each school she visits to McDonogh. For her, McDonogh is the measure against which nothing seems to compare.
Deni, a fifth-grader, agrees. In fact, she never wants to miss a day of school. A highlight of her fourth-grade year was the leadership and service group, an opportunity for her and her classmates to gain knowledge and skills essential to lead by example and become active participants in every aspect of their lives. Deni used what she learned in her role as a reading buddy and a bus buddy to younger students.
Each of these students is discovering passions, developing talents, and becoming LifeReady. And it is clear they are having fun and finding joy doing so. It’s no wonder they love McDonogh. Visit mcdonogh.org/admissions/ways-to-visit for open house dates and times at McDonogh School.
Mercy High School
With nearly 60 years of expertise educating girls, Mercy High School works to cultivate compassion, confidence, inquisitiveness, spirituality, open-mindedness, and more — the many qualities that make a Mercy Girl. With those touchstones, a Mercy Girl will successfully navigate the challenges and rewards of personal and professional opportunities available to women in today’s dynamic society.
Kadey, Emily, and Rashawna are well into their journeys from the uncertainty of freshmen year to the strength and confidence that emerge in sophomore, junior, and senior years. Like the inspirational lines of the school’s alma mater in the entry hall, the pins on each girl’s blazer capture the spirit of Mercy and its unique mission of helping their students grow from Mercy Girls to Women of Mercy.
Junior Kadey proudly wears her badge from Mercy’s highly selective Women in Medicine program in partnership with Mercy Medical Center. This year, Kadey will shadow with a physician mentor, demonstrating her commitment to exploring the field of dermatology.
Sophomore Rashawna was recognized by her faculty advisor for the respect she shows for others and wears pins acknowledging scholastic achievement in algebra and science. She earned a position as a student ambassador and member of the pep squad and radiated her school spirit and pride when cheering on her classmates and speaking to prospective families.
Junior Emily proudly wears leadership pins representing her service on her class steering committee. A JV soccer player, enthusiastic thespian, and a recent participant in an international leadership conference for the global network of Mercy schools, Emily truly embodies the values signified by her “well-rounded” pin. She also shares the Mercy experience with her mother, two aunts, and a grandfather who coached softball.
Being a Mercy Girl has always meant a commitment to spiritual growth, service to others, academic inquiry, and pride in your school. Each of these accomplished girls reflects many aspects of this mission and the promise of its continuation in the future. Open house at Mercy is October 19, 2019. Visit mercyhighschool.com to learn more.
St. James Academy
Nestled in the bucolic countryside of Baltimore County, St. James Academy offers a challenging curriculum in a nurturing environment that celebrates each student’s individual gifts and inspires all to become contributing members of their world. SJA provides a safe place for students to take risks, learn from mistakes, and explore interests— all essential for building confidence.
A student at St. James Academy since kindergarten, Jackson serves on the school’s student council, participates in sports and is a member of the Destination Imagination team, a project-based innovation program. Jackson embodies the St. James Academy mission believing that one should “leave the world better than we found it.” Jackson hopes to make his mark through his many contributions to the school community. Equally well-rounded, seventh-grader Ava is a fellow student council representative who contributes to the community as a compassionate peer and dependable teammate on the basketball team.
Ava believes that leadership means “always trying to set a good example.” For Ava, listening is far more important than talking, and she always strives to be available and approachable. She and Jackson are visible role models for fourth-grader Sarah, who believes that strong leaders “demonstrate good examples for others, always have a positive attitude, and always stand up for others.” Sarah aims to exhibit these principles every day and credits SJA for inspiring her creativity. St. James Academy instills an “anything is possible” belief in its students allowing Jackson to dream of a career in the performing arts, Ava to imagine owning a business and Sarah to follow her love of art. All of these aspirations are possible with a St. James Academy education. Open house at St. James Academy is November 20, 2019, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Visit saintjamesacademy.org to learn more.
The St. Paul’s Schools
At The St. Paul’s Schools, leadership comes in many forms, beginning in St. Paul’s Pre and Lower School. Fourth-grader Stella was elected to Student Council her first year as a St. Paul’s student. She earned the role because of her perpetual smile, her overwhelming kindness, and her endless enthusiasm. Teachers call Stella an outstanding role model for her class. St. Paul’s School for Girls sophomore Skylar is a different kind of role model, a quiet leader with great influence among her peers. Administrators say, “When Skylar speaks, her classmates listen.” So, too, do her varsity basketball and track and field teammates, the prospective parents who have heard her as an admissions panelist, her fellow Black Awareness Club members, and the teachers who both respect and appreciate her impact on the school community. Most recently, Skylar’s leadership and dedication as a scholar-athlete earned her The Class of 1992 Scholarship. St. Paul’s School senior Logan leads in the Upper School through his passionate involvement across many areas of school life. From the Debate Club to theater productions, Logan has immersed himself in the extracurricular opportunities at St. Paul’s. Academically, he has distinguished himself as a winner of the 2018-19 French Prize and the Martin Tullai History Prize, as well as a fellow in the Schools’ Price Eisenhower Civic Engagement Institute inaugural cohort. While each student represents a different aspect of leadership at The St. Paul’s Schools, collectively they validate the Schools’ commitment to celebrating its students’ unique gifts. Visit stpaulsschool.org/admissions for open house dates at The St. Paul’s Schools.
Tri-School: Roland Park Country, Gilman, and Bryn Mawr Schools
As Bryn Mawr, Gilman and Roland Park County School seniors Sona, Paul and Lauren look toward the new school year, they share a collective energy that will inform their roles as school presidents and set the tone for the year. Elected by their respective student bodies, each brings a leadership style that captures the collaborative spirit of the tri-school community. United by the bridges that span Roland Avenue and Northern Parkway, Bryn Mawr, Gilman and Roland Park Country Schools offer a unique single-sex setting with coed opportunities. On each campus, students appreciate the benefits of single-sex education, including school-wide traditions and individual initiatives. However, the more than 200 Upper School course offerings make the tri-school community unique and provide shared experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.
For eleven years, Paul has called Gilman home. As a senior leader, he is dedicating himself to “making it the best year we’ve had at Gilman School in the last decade.” His focus is school spirit and connectivity and his inspiration is his fellow students. Paul explains, “Gilman provides every opportunity imaginable to set yourself apart as somebody who sets the standard and leads the charge in whatever they do.” For Paul, taking advantage of these opportunities is where leadership is born and what makes Gilman so special.
Lauren believes that “the best way to learn leadership is to get involved and try new things.” Having come to RPCS as a sophomore, Lauren embodies this idea. She urges, “Get involved. Reach out to people. Be the best version of yourself that you can be.” This positive outlook will inspire her role as school president. She is willing to face challenges head-on and work through whatever curveballs come her way. By that, Lauren leads by example, showing that at Roland Park, anything is possible.
Sona has similarly learned by example, calling on upperclassmen and teachers as role models. She cites her math teacher, Ms. Miyamoto, as one such role model. Sona explains, “ She’s patient and kind, but also always effectively and efficiently makes sure we understand the topics at hand.” This sort of leadership speaks to Sona who looks forward to working with the members of Bryn Mawr’s student government association. “The organization is so much more than just me at the helm,” she explains. At Bryn Mawr, the core of leadership is making sure everyone’s voice is heard. For Sona, that means “authentically and accurately representing the student body” as both a school leader and a role model.
Spirit, energy, collaboration, and involvement. These ideas define leadership for the tri-schools and underline their shared missions. Three schools with three individual but common missions to inspire leaders and create leadership opportunities beyond high school. Visit gilman.edu, brynmawrschool.org and rpcs.org for open house dates at Gilman School, Bryn Mawr School, and Roland Park Country School.
Waldorf School of Baltimore
Through a rich balance of academics and the arts, children at the Waldorf School learn life skills that begin the moment they enter school.
The life learning happens through multi-sensory activities both in and out of the classroom. In classes like woodshop and handwork, the school brings out the students’ diverse talents and interests and allows them to interact with and support one another.
Eighth-grader Wynter, for example, helps her brother Kevin, a first-grader, and third-grader Van on their Afghan project. As they work together, the collaboration gives students the opportunity to model and learn leadership skills from one another. Because of this, Waldorf students feel comfortable taking risks, self-advocating, and leading.
As a member of the social action committee, Wynter knows these skills will translate well to high school, where she anticipates learning more about women in medicine. She is a role model for her younger brother, who loves music and playing basketball, areas where she excels. He also looks up to third-grader Van who is excited to continue his love of nature studies with the third-grade farm trip, a Waldorf tradition.
Van shared that his favorite Waldorf memory was tracking an animal through the snow. This moment evokes Waldorf’s mission to bring the outdoors into the classroom and incorporate it into everyday lessons. It also highlights the depth of a Waldorf education, which emphasizes holistic learning full of possibility. Contact the admissions office at [email protected] to sign-up for one hour Windows on Waldorf tours. Visit waldorfschoolofbaltimore.org to learn more.
- School Spirit: Meet Baltimore independent school student leaders - October 4, 2019