Leadership is a unique quality. Although many may view leadership as holding a chief title in a company or serving in a high political position, leadership comes in various shapes and sizes. Leadership does not necessarily require a “rank” as much as it requires the ability to influence, guide and inspire individuals around them. Ranney’s Upper School student body is growing more and more of these types of leaders.
While Student Council participation represents one way in which students can lead, the formation of new student-run clubs and activities, such as Aquariums and Terrariums, and Girls Who Code, also provide opportunities for student leadership. New groups throughout the student community, such as the Grill Club, also bring more school spirit to the division.
Below is a look at a few new Upper School clubs created during the 2015-16 school year by student leaders.
Aquariums and Terrariums, started by juniors Craig Callahan and Taylor Zenner, formed from a “ collaboration of passions” between both students that started the club and their advisor, History Teacher Mr.Payne. “I have always had a love for snakes, reptiles and fish,” says Craig. This club allows both Taylor and Craig the opportunity to unite all reptile lovers in the Ranney community and bring reptile awareness to the school through events. For example, during Fall Festival, Aquariums and Terrariums ran a booth that passed out goldfish to winners and raise over $600 for future club activities and programs.
Since reptiles are not a popular species among all individuals, Taylor and Craig are dedicated to informing those that wish to hear about fish,snakes and more! As mutually agreed by both co-founders during an interview, “The only difference between fear and passion is knowledge”--which they quickly followed with a high-five.
Update: In May 2016, Taylor and Craig announced that they have raised funds to install a fish tank in the Middle/Upper School Paulus Library.
Girls Who Code is a new activity brought to the Upper School by junior Olivia Eaddy. I started Girls Who Code not only because I wanted to learn how to code myself, but also, because I think that it is important to implement in schools.”
With motivation to learn new skills, this form of student leadership from Olivia brings new opportunities to young Ranney women while exposing them to the growing tech field.
“I feel very good about myself knowing I brought this opportunity to Ranney because now girls are encouraged to go out of their comfort zone and learn a little bit more about a field that dominates modern culture and everyday life.”
Girls Who Code allows young women the opportunity to learn a computer science language and decide if coding is a possible career path to pursue. With an eager group of coders and a flexible supervisor, Mrs. Shah, the club has also benefitted from alumni advice. Amy Winkler, who graduated in 2015 and is now at Brown University, recently visited the club to share insight into coding--from programming robotics to developing new pieces of coding language.
While some new clubs appeal to specific interests and passions, more general clubs like Grill Club, tend to integrate students as a whole. Senior Christopher Weiland was inspired to start the club after learning about a similar activity at Georgetown University. “I thought it would be a great way to increase school spirit, get people out to sporting events, and also have fun while grilling and spending time with your friends,” says Weiland. With more than 70 members, the Grill Club provides food during school white-outs and tailgates leading up to major sporting events. In fact, the club grilled 100 hamburgers, 100 hot dogs and 50 veggie burgers at their most recent event. With so much success, the club has just obtained a smoker and a wood-fired pizza oven to increase participation.
Additional new Upper School activities include a new dance program
and a sustainable development goals study group associated with the United Nations.
With freedom to spread their passions, student leaders are taking advantage of the opportunity to share their interests and create new sub-communities across campus. These groups not only boost the school spirit environment but also bring awareness to topics that may be lesser known.