On Thursday, the school hosted a day devoted to leadership development and welcomed 600 students from around the State of Maine. The excitement was in the air early on in the morning session in the gym where students from 40 schools did a mingle exercise and listened to Steve Abbott, the Chief of Staff for Maine Senator Susan Collins. Steve shared his leadership journey and challenged the students to develop their own “personal brand” and make sure that they used the internet to move them forward. He also shared some of his huge successes and huge failures and the value of both in his life. His speech jump-started the day and emphasized the theme of the importance of handling setbacks as a leader.
Hyde’s Maine State Leadership Alliance has been working to bring together Maine youth with Maine leaders to explore and promote leadership development. The initiative has also given several Maine students the opportunity to attend Hyde for a leadership experience with a post-graduate year at Hyde School. On Thursday, the students saw leadership modeled first-hand by interacting with Maine entrepreneurs and organizations committed to leadership development. The students met in age groups and attended the following workshops:
- Authentic Leadership
- Having Difficult Conversations
- Where are you going?
- Share your message
- The power of influence
- Overcoming setbacks
- College readiness
- Inner Leadership
- When Entrepreneurship is in your DNA
- Getting involved in the community
- Effective communication as a leader
At the end of the day, the entire group gathered back in the gym for a panel discussion on leadership with students and some of the morning’s presenters. Assistant Head Kevin Folan asked the group to reflect on lessons learned from adversity, setbacks, and mentors. The room was quiet as students and presenters shared at a deep level about their lives and defining moments. Some of the take-away comments about the day included:
“I learned today how to have a difficult conversation.”
“Today was a jumpstart for me, and I am so glad that I came.”
“You can ask for help because we are all more alike than we are different.”
“I learned that my public self is more confident than my private self.”
“I was unsure about getting out of my comfort zone, but I am glad that I came.”
Many thanks to Stefan Jensen, Kevin Folan, Brandy Beckwith, Kate Foye, Michael Flynn, George Paton, Joel Randazza, Heather Beam, Jenny Collinson and the whole Hyde team. It was a powerful day for Hyde and for the state. Our students set an impressive example and created a character culture of leadership development.