Character and Leadership Development

Next month, Thomas Lickona will speak at Trinity School. In preparation for his visit, I have been re-reading a book I read years ago by Lickona, Educating for Character: How Our Schools Can Teach Respect and Responsibility. The quote below opens Part I of the book which focuses on educating for both values and character:

As Aristotle taught, people do not naturally or spontaneously grow up to be morally excellent or practically wise. They become so, if at all, only as a result of a lifelong personal and community effort. -Jon Moline, “Classical Ideas about Moral Education” in Character Policy: An Emerging Issue

This morning, as I listened to two Trinity students speak to a large group of prospective parents at our first (of three) Open Houses, I was struck at how wise and confident these two students seemed to be. Their full speeches are below (and certainly worth watching). It seems like the constant refrain about “Trinity Kids” is that they are natural leaders…on their sports teams, in their churches, and once they graduate, at the schools they choose to attend. As I think about Trinity’s focus on developing leaders — both now and in the future — I was struck by Andrew and Matt’s words this morning:

Andrew, a Third Grader, made the connection between teamwork and leadership development. He certainly understands that the things he does at school are preparing him for his future and the world outside the school walls:

“At Trinity, we care for people, help each other, and work together.”

“I hope to be a good leader. I want to be responsible, open to suggestions, patient, persuavive, happy, and be able to make difficult decisions. That’s what I think makes a good leader.”

Matt, a member of Trinity’s Leadership Class, reflects on the fact that he is indeed a role model for the younger students, specifically those in his “Buddy Class.” He also talks about how his experiences at Trinity and his friendships have shaped him and will continue to affect him in the future:

“My education at Trinity has prepared me for this day, my next school, and for anything that will come my way.”

It’s pretty powerful to hear two students (whose combined age doesn’t quite equal that of a college graduate) express what Trinity School is all about:


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