|Morgan Leaders, left to right, Emily Kalis, Eric Rauckhorst, Jonathan Deeter, Krista Sandercock and Inga Wells with Dr. Elizabeth Ricanati '88.|
Change was a constant theme during the four years the 2011-12 Morgan Leaders spent on Western Reserve Academy’s campus, so it should come as no surprise that the five seniors spent the past year working to change and improve the Morgan Leaders program.
The Morgan Leaders – seniors Jonathan Deeter, Emily Kalis, Eric Rauckhorst, Krista Sandercock and Inga Wells – worked with school administrators and faculty, including William Bugg, Keely Boomhower, Matt Gerber, Herb Haller ’85, Midge Karam ’79, Kevin O’Brien and Justin Zimmerman, to strengthen the program so it will have a broader impact on the entire school community by providing high-quality civics and leadership development programs.
Starting in the fall, the program will expand to include 10-15 Morgan Leaders each year who will represent the school as student leaders in a variety of areas, including:
- The Arts Council, which enriches the lives of students by promoting and coordinating involvement in the many forms of art, helping create well-rounded students.
- The Athletic Council, which promotes good conduct on and off the field to create a positive environment for student-athletes while representing themselves, their team and WRA respectfully, unselfishly and inclusively.
- The Chief Ambassadors, who act as a liaison between the school and prospective students to offer a view of life at WRA.
- The Clubs Council, which promotes student participation in various activities at WRA in order to create a more involved community.
- The Communications Council, which aims to effectively communicate the lives of the students and offer an outlet for development of writing and artistic skills through student publications.
- The Honor Council, which strives to help students maintain high standards and ensure that their actions and their outcomes represent their integrity and values.
- The Prefect Council, which serves as the primary connection between the faculty and students to promote the rules and integrity of the school.
- The Class Council, which represents the ideas of their classes and the student body as a whole by helping coordinate and encourage involvement in the life of the school.
The renamed Morgan Council will act as the Student Senate and serve as the main connection between the various councils, the faculty and school administration.
“I really appreciate the Morgan Leaders program because it has the right balance of leadership training and what may be called ‘true leading,’” Wells said. “Next year’s program will really exemplify this ownership in the sense that all of the Morgan Leaders were chosen to serve a certain area, making the program much more hands-on and applicable to the entire student body.”
The enhanced program is funded by The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, which awarded WRA a two-year, $116,000 grant in January. In addition to the Morgan Leaders Council, the grant will fund student leadership development, the Morgan Leadership Institute to train student leaders, a Morgan Leadership trip and media project, as well as two new projects:
- Morgan Civics and Ethical Leadership Development Program is an ongoing, extracurricular effort to teach up-and-coming student leaders crucial civics and leadership skills during the course of the academic year. In as early as 2012-13, the school would like to expand the program to serve all sophomores and juniors as a two-year extension of the current freshman Health and Ethics Seminar.
- Morgan Leadership Faculty Professional Development Fund to allow faculty advisors of student leadership organizations to attend high quality leadership conferences and bring in speakers or consultants to work with the school in order to improve student leadership programs.
In addition to working to upgrade the programs, the Morgan Leaders traveled to Los Angeles in February to interview Holly Schroeder ’87, CEO of the Building Industry Association’s Los Angeles/Venture chapter; Geoffrey Nauffts ’79, a screenwriter and playwright; Dr. Elizabeth Ricanati ’88, a women’s health specialist; and Lee Smith ’81, a senior vice president with Douglas Emmett, about their leadership skills.
“I had fun spending time with this bright and curious group of students – their questions were insightful, their eagerness for the next stage in their lives was infectious, and thinking creatively with them about leadership and entrepreneurship was thought-provoking for me as well,” Ricanati said.
“What a great group of kids – lively, smart and industrious,” Nauffts said. “I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with them, and look forward to the contributions they will undoubtedly be making to society in the future.”
“This year’s Morgan Leaders embodied the significance of my Reserve experience: intellectual curiosity and a willingness to challenge authority while being guided by Midwestern values,” Smith said.
The Morgan Leaders maintained a blog during the California trip, completed a program through the Effective Leadership Program in Cleveland, and began efforts to restore the Victory Bell and have it returned to a prominent place on campus.
“Our training with the Effective Leadership Academy was invaluable; I learned a great deal about how I could use my skills and weaknesses in group situations,” Wells said. “However, experiences such as the Los Angeles trip and the formation of the Morgan Senate gave us a chance to put those skills to work and gave further value to the program by utilizing our skills.”
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