I enjoyed my first of what I hope will be many Senior Lunches today, eating with our 12th graders in the Dining Hall and discussing what it means to be a senior and a leader of fellow students.  Rather than telling them what I thought their leadership responsibilities should be, I asked each of them to share with me and their peers what they thought it means to be a senior and a leader.  Following are some of their many, wonderful, thoughtful and creative, answers:

Leadership means encouraging younger students to find their own interests, and encouraging them to be themselves, not follow the crowd.

Leadership is about encouraging other students to be more involved in school, in sports, and in activities.

Leadership means modeling responsible behavior, such as picking up litter as you walk on campus.

Leadership is about thinking out of the box and thinking of new ideas.

Being a senior, I now have the confidence to speak up and speak my mind and offer different ideas.

Seniors should help all new students feel more welcome as they join the school.

Seniors sometimes swagger a bit, being at the top of the student body, but they shouldn’t swagger too much, and they shouldn’t cut themselves off from other classes.

Seniors should not be noticeably different as people– we should be still accessible to students in all grades, friendly and comfortable with everyone.

Leadership is about having fun, sharing humor, laughing a lot.

Leaders should help their fellow students to not worry about the little things, and maintain their good spirits even when small things go wrong.

For me, being a senior is about enjoying the really good things that I love to do, and sharing those things with others.

Leadership is about making the school a better place for the grades that come after us.

We should try to be a senior class that other classes want to be like when they are seniors, rather than being a class that other classes want to distance themselves from.

Leadership is in part about helping the juniors and sophomores prepare themselves for becoming leaders after we leave.

Being seniors, we need to seize the moment and act now to do the things we want to do, because it is our last chance to make a difference here as students.