INISGHT: Eigth Grade Leadership Lab – Inspiring Others with Actions and Words

By Sarah Peeden, Middle School Head & Leadership Lab Sponsor

Each week, Leadership Lab meet during Wednesday’s Middle School clubs’ period. Leadership Lab is an eighth-grade group that works to create a positive community within the EPS Middle School. In Leadership Lab, students are asked to plan and execute student events, such as our bi-monthly assemblies and our student socials. At the same time, they serve as changemakers in Middle School and frequently find themselves acting as culture keepers and creators among their peers.

At the beginning of the year, before they jumped into action, the Lab’s leaders took some time to discuss leadership and its role in their lives at school. During the conversation, students described qualities of compassionate leadership, one of our school’s mission points, as well as the role that the “first follower” (a concept popularized by writer Derek Sivers) plays in making a movement. This week, between their planning for upcoming social events, including their first school dance, and this month’s Middle School assemblies, the eighth graders returned to the concept of leadership. Now, equipped with two more trimesters of practice leading in the MS, they shared the following insights:

What I think being a leader means is to organize others toward a goal while still being supportive and open. It means to take responsibility and remain respectful to everyone. They empower people by setting an example and guiding others through hard times. It means to take charge and to unite people together. – Claire
To be a leader is to inspire others and be a vanguard for new ideas. It also means to support others and other perspectives. – Dingchen

Being a leader means that we are the “driving force” behind events and the planning of them. We [eighth-grade students] coordinate… details and basically figure out how to make things work. Apart from events, being a leader also means you work with and understand [other people, as we do with] the younger grades. We make sure to consider their feelings and try to be inclusive of all thoughts and feelings. Being a leader means that all ideas are heard and understood, and we do our best to accommodate them. – Chelsea

To be a leader means to inspire others with your actions and words. It also means to help others, and to hold yourself to a high standard. Let your actions speak for yourself. I’m a leader in the MS because I help both teachers and students, for example, planning assemblies and offering my knowledge from previous experiences to younger students. – Hannah

To be a leader means to help others with your power of listening to other’s opinions and ideas. – Ally Z

To be a leader means to help the people around you and help lead them to a goal. It also means that you need to step up for tasks that you might not want to do. – William

To be a leader is to set an example for others. Leaders should always help others by promoting healthy behavior. I try to communicate with other students and volunteers to help others whenever I can. – Felicia

What does it mean to be a leader? It means to listen to others. It also means to communicate, to be compassionate, and to be responsible. – Allyson

To be a leader is to help your peers. It means you have to step up…to be a leader is to hold yourself accountable. It means working hard and stand as a role model. – Gabriel

To be a leader is to have power and influence over others. It also involves inspiring people and helping them connect. I am a leader in the middle school because I am part of Leadership Lab, and we help connect people (ex in socials). We also inspire and are influencers by doing the assembles and being an example to others. – Arushi