The Leadership Springfield Academy Class 27 is ready for the opportunity they say is one of a lifetime.
The 2016-2017 class consists of 32 students from Springfield’s high schools. This year’s class is excited to take advantage of this opportunity.
“When I found out about Leadership Springfield it sounded really interesting,” said Glendale High School junior Ruth Anne Chaney. “I want to learn to be a leader in a professional sense, other than just my friends and my family.”
The application process is similar to the Signature Class of Leadership Springfield. The hopefuls apply during their sophomore years in high school. They take that process seriously.
“I applied because I saw the opportunity that was there,” said Parkview High School junior Ben Cron. “I jumped at the opportunity, really took the application seriously. I fully, correctly, represented myself and my school on that application to come here and reap all of the benefits this program rewards.”
The juniors began their journey on October 5 at the Jordan Valley Ice Park for the opening retreat. The retreat featured team-building exercises, including building a sled to race across the ice park’s sheet of ice. Talk about a chilly reception!
Lessons in the retreat focused around the students’ strengths. The Gallup Strength Finder 2.0 test graded the students. They learned their Top 5 strengths at the retreat. Glendale High School junior Anna Fredrick shared her top strengths of competition, strategic, command, ideation and significance.
“The descriptions really fit me,” said Fredrick. “Like strategic, (I) think of ways I can approach a situation before the situation happens. Even something like ideation, like significance, which I hadn’t thought of, really related to me once I sat down and looked at it.”
The strengths will become the basis for small group work throughout the class program days. Leadership Springfield organizers arranged the students by their own strengths. That assures each team is well rounded. It allows the group to use each of the strengths to develop the best program day possible. The students know they have to buy into the strengths.
“At first I was upset, none of these really go with who I am,” said Chaney. “I read more about them, heard more examples, then I realized that is who I am and I can relate to them. I am happy with them now, but at the beginning I was like no.”
The dreams of these students go well beyond Leadership Springfield. The students shared different plans after high school. But they all agreed they applied for the opportunity to help springboard them to be better leaders.
“What I want to get out of this experience is how to work with people, being compassionate in what I do,” said Parkview High School junior Jordan Smith. “Also, getting to know people better, know how they feel.”
Cron knows how Leadership Springfield will benefit him years from now.
“Everything I do I see it benefiting,” said Cron. “Throughout the program I hope to gain the skills that go along with Parkview’s leadership school. Even beyond my senior year, there will be connections established throughout this program I will be able to use for the foreseeable future, for many years. The skills I learn will help me through high school, college years.”
The Leadership Springfield Academy class meets each month through the school year.