Learning to Lead: 10th Grade Leadership Summit

Nicki Ragan
10th grade students participate in a leadership summit led by Christopher Irving.

10th Grade Leadership Summit

On the first day back from winter break Carrollwood Day School’s sophomore class did not sluggishly walk the halls to class. Instead, they participated in a leadership summit.

Christopher Irving, a leadership specialist from New Jersey, visited CDS to teach the sophomore class how to become better, more empathetic leaders.

To start, the multi-purpose room was set up with a giant double circle of chairs – two seats facing each other – all the way around the room. With each student sitting across from a partner, sophomores were given the opportunity to learn more about their partner. Knowing that most students began by sitting with a friend group with whom they are comfortable, Mr. Irving had everyone in the inner circle move down a few seats, putting them in front of someone new – someone they might not know much about, or have any common social ties to.

Students completed this activity several more times, each time engaging with a new classmate having meaningful conversations with one another. Although this activity was mandatory, each student learned information about classmates that they didn’t know as a way to break the ice for the day.

Later, students were asked by Mr. Irving to group up based on affinity groupings of common interests. For example, students were told to find other classmates that had the same favorite pizza toppings. This activity was simple, yet very educational which drove the point home: empathy doesn’t take a lot of work, but it does take proactively connecting with those around us.

Irving utilized group activities and demonstrations such as these to expose students to the differing opinions and perspectives people have, to stimulate empathetic conversations. This leadership summit was not only eye-opening, but challenged everyone to be risk takers.