Ready, steady, go! Redhill Preparatory School’s Grade 7 Leadership Summit

| August 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Dhevan Marimandi

It is always a good time to ask what kind of leadership we need, because the world is constantly changing.

But the world is not just changing, it is being dramatically reshaped, making us ask the question with more urgency. In working to improve our country, human capital is our most important resource, and it is therefore important that we as educators put measures in place to develop this resource. No one is born a leader – but everyone can develop leadership skills and everyone can benefit from using them.

If one is involved in any group or organisation, you will need to develop leadership within the organisation to accomplish anything of significance. Why? Because it is leaders who make things happen. It is leaders who have vision, take initiative, influence people, make proposals, organise logistics, solve problems, follow up and, most importantly, take responsibility for consequences.

The complex problems that we have in our communities will require many people who are willing and able to lend an active hand and work together to solve them. Whether you want to create more jobs in your communities or accomplish any other goal, you will need many leaders working together.

Leadership summit will now be an annual event

Therefore, based on these principles, Redhill School in Johannesburg, Gauteng, decided to highlight the importance of leadership. In May 2014, Redhill Preparatory School hosted the inaugural Leadership Summit for Grade 7 pupils.

The summit was so significant that it was scheduled again for 15 May 2015 at Redhill Prep. The 2015 Grade 7 Leadership Summit saw 375 pupils from Grayston Preparatory School, Dainfern College, Kyalami Preparatory School and Redhill Prep join with 87 Grade 7 pupils from Lulama Primary School in Klipspruit, Soweto, Gauteng. The event created an ideal environment for pupils to create a network into which they can tap when working on future projects within their own communities.

The summit provided participants with an environment designed to boost them into leadership roles that will make a change in their lives and in the communities which they, one day, might have to serve. The focus was on empowering future leaders with an injection of vision, skills development and inspiration.

Fun format, profound findings

The format included small group discussions, hands-on service learning experiences, leadership simulation games and exercises designed to enable pupils to identify their own particular leadership strengths. The young delegates interacted with Shamla Bennideen, head: leadership, social sciences and head: Grade 7 at Dainfern College; Liande Engelbrecht, head: additional languages, Redhill Prep; Almie van Niekerk, Afrikaans teacher, Redhill Prep; Jacqui Kushlick, economic and management sciences teacher, Redhill Prep; Sean Milliken, Grade 7 teacher, Kyalami Prep; Nicola Scriven, teacher, Grayston Prep and Ché McKay, deputy principal: senior preparatory phase, Grayston Prep. In addition, Liza Ashton, managing director: BIOSS SA,1 and Creina Schneier and Julia Kerr from Ithaca Leadership,2 ran two exciting workshops.

The pupils were also privileged to listen to previous Miss Earth, Ella Bella; Tshiamo Ndlovu and Catherine Constantinides from LEAD SA;3 and a LEAD SA ‘hero of the month’, Emmanuel Bonoko.4 These leaders presented information on leadership styles and the contributions that they have made in their communities. In addition, our very own Grade 8 pupils Derryn Jackman, Daniella Roodt and Nastassja Tyron – who initiated the Grade 7 Leave a Legacy programme, which involves the donation of Qhubeka bicycles5 to underprivileged children in the Babanango Valley area – addressed the pupils.

A place for everyone

At Redhill Prep, our leadership programme starts with the students attending a leadership orientation day at the Maretlwane Outdoor Education Centre.6

The pupils participate in outdoor activities focused on collaboration, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, reflection and discussion.

Back at school, our Grade 7 pupils are placed variously in ‘departments’: the department of skills and development, the department of social development, the department of environmental affairs, the department of sports and recreation, the department of technology, the department of media and communications and the department of public relations.

Within these departments, our student leaders participate in various activities that include planting indigenous trees and vegetable gardens where they are needed at other schools, helping students from other schools to understand technology, hosting a soup kitchen in Alexandra township, and teaching children from an Alexandra township preschool how to swim.

Our student leaders learn quickly how to utilise resources, take risks, build self-confidence, prioritise and actively seek ways to make a positive difference in the world.

References:

1. See: http://www.bioss.co.za/.
2. See: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/creina-schneier/21/28/64a.
3. See: http://leadsa.co.za/.
4. See: http://leadsa.co.za/?p=17769.
5. Says Marimandi: “The Redhill Grade 7 Leaver’s Legacy programme was introduced in 2014 by students Derryn Jackman, Nastassja Tyron and Daniella Roodt. The idea behind Qhubeka bicycles is that each class raises enough money to sponsor a Qhubeka bicycle to donate to top learners at Babanango Village Primary School in KwaZulu-Natal. Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief ’s programme in South Africa. World Bicycle Relief is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation.” See: http://qhubeka.org/2013/?page_id=30.
6. See: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maretlwane/545678255484532.

Category: Featured Articles, Spring 2015

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