Leadership At Its Best

Luis Irizarry-Ramirez, School News Writer

Student Participation

Glenbard South hosts many student leaders of different backgrounds and opportunities. The Independent sat down with Glenbard South principal Ms. Jessica Santee and a few students to talk about student leadership around the school.

At Glenbard South, Ms. Santee continues to advocate for ensuring that our students have leadership opportunities. 

Ms. Santee exclaimed, “…it’s definitely a major fabric of priority…to increase student opportunities and practice as a leader in anything they do.” 

Glenbard South has seen increased student participation throughout our extracurricular activities through Ms. Santee’s, and the GBS Staff’s, effort to maintain student leadership.

Glenbard South student participation has increased, but what is the motivation behind the high involvement from our administration and staff to ensure leadership opportunities?

The Voice

According to centraltransition.org, a student’s voice consists of the expression of values, opinions, beliefs, and perspectives of individuals and groups of students in a school, in addition to instructional techniques based on student interests and passions. In her interview, Ms. Santee explained her claim to hear our Raider student’s voices.

“I love to bring the voice to this school….to those places where leadership spaces already exist and outside of those leadership places…If we can take and act in an environment where people can help each other and look up to people for leadership, it would be amazing.”

How can the student’s voice be achieved? According to Ms. Santee, Glenbard South ensures student voice through consistency with the message. Consistent, the statement refers to the Glenbard South Staff’s effort to increase Glenbard South leadership. 

Lizzie Steel (12) vice president for Future Teachers of America and Head Carpenter for the theater productions states, “There’s opportunities and a lot of them.” 

The Independent spoke with fellow writer Alex Arquilla (10) and she had this to say about leadership: “I think we need more student leadership, because students are able to empathize better and make better decisions for the students rather than the teachers or staff making those decisions.” 

Secondly, Ms. Santee expressed the need for Students to have the chance to serve others such as, “…Key club helping with hanging up flags for the veterans…it’s these sort of opportunities for students to help with continued opportunities to step up,” Ms. Satnee continued. 

There’s definitely many opportunities for students to lead, these include but are not limited to Link crew available to all juniors and seniors, NHS for seniors and many club and volunteer opportunities available to students. 

Lastly, Ms. Santee spoke of the help to students’ voices through behind the scenes efforts. “In our field we have a term Collective efficacy,” explained Ms. Santee, “the shared belief that through their collective action, educators can influence student outcomes and increase achievement for all students.”

It is all in the listening!

Before culminating the interview, the Independent spoke to Ms. Santee about where she found the ideas to create student leadership opportunity roles. “I’ve worked in several schools before this one, Glenbard South is my sixth, and I find that every school has a component of what it is to be a leader but what’s needed to take these leadership steps to fruition is to hear the student voices.”

Through the actions of our Glenbard Staff, the interest in leadership has undoubtedly spiked. Listening is the key to ensuring that our Glenbard South body is full of outstanding leadership. 

Final words 

“Not many people listen, and students do not know about their opportunities. How things are implemented and heard might be different, but we must create an environment for students to feel free to take these roles into reality. When hearing, it is essential to know that this is not just bossing around. This is realizing that we can ensure students and attention of our students and attention.” (Santee)

Asma Irfanullah (10) says, “It’s a good thing that we have so many opportunities but there could definitely be more people involved. Students should really get more involved than they do, maybe join one of many clubs or opportunities that are offered.”

Ms. Santee continues saying, “Leadership in the classroom is fundamental to the success of student leaders and academics…The most memorable and insightful memories I have in classrooms are from those where I was able to have a voice and lead. In many situations, it is essential to remember that just because somebody shares an opinion does not mean it will change, but just thinking about how to improve makes things better.”

Jace Alvarez (10) concludes by adding “There’s a lot of opportunities, out of many schools I feel like we’re one of the lucky ones. I feel like compared to many schools we have more opportunities to have leadership unfortunately there could be more of an involvement in these opportunities.”