Becoming a Leader (and All That Entails)


Wendy Carlson

The Class of 2018 during its commencement ceremony.

As the summer months rapidly approach, it dawns on many Hotchkiss students – me included – that their days together on campus are coming to an end. Seniors struggle to grasp the fact that they will never return to this campus as a full class again and scramble to check off the last items on their “Hotchkiss bucket lists.”
The end of the school year also signals the ceremonial movement of classes. To each grade this can be a big change: Preps begin to mold their course selections, Lower Mids face the challenge of navigating Hotchkiss without the structure of the Humanities program and study hall, and Upper Mids face the enormous responsibility of becoming role models to the entire school. All of this can be daunting, and without the sense of security that our current Seniors provide, many feel lost.
As a Lower Mid, I have constantly sought help and guidance from my Senior friends. In my eyes, an extra one or two years gave upperclass students an authority and wisdom comparable to any faculty member. I never walked away dissatisfied with their advice. Even without explicitly asking for help, Seniors, in the form of proctors, captains, and friends, were there to support me no matter what. It is difficult to comprehend the fact that I will begin to assume the role that the Seniors and Upper Mids once held for me.
Becoming a mentor is a crucial service that we now must provide for the younger classes. Even without the appointed position of captain of a team or proctor, next year I look forward to helping incoming students acclimate to Hotchkiss’ culture and community through positions on the boards of clubs.
For some, this responsibility may come easily – Hotchkiss is full of natural-born leaders – but others may find this more challenging. Those who have been already been chosen as captains and proctors will proceed to lead students in innovative and strong ways. For others, perhaps including me, it may take longer to break out of my comfort zone and push my boundaries as a leader.
Regardless of one’s skills, this rite of passage is important to all Hotchkiss students. Hotchkiss breeds stellar students and prides them on their leadership and community skills; becoming an upperclass student or assuming any other leadership role in sports or clubs is a way of proving yourself within the Hotchkiss community.
As we say goodbye to our Seniors, we must also thank them for the support that they have given us in the past four years. They have strengthened the Hotchkiss community, upheld our values, and continued our traditions. It is critical that we continue to do the same as we grow into our new role as leaders.