This article is sponsored by Leadership Prep School.
Many of us were (or currently are) school children sitting in a classroom, probably closer to high school age, uttering the question under mumbled breath as we listened to our teachers, “When am I ever going to use this in my future?”
Few of us were (or currently are) school children sitting in a classroom pondering, “How can I use this to change the future?”
The Kids Are Alright
Leadership Prep School empowers their students to not only succeed in the future but to create their own future.
Take the Lighthouse Kids, for example, which Audra Floyd, Principal of the Secondary Campus at LPS, describes as “student council on steroids.” The student body runs all of the social events, the fellowship, and the community involvement. From starting non-profits to organizing blood drives, Leadership Prep School encourages the students to be involved and stay involved in any way they choose.
If a student such as Lindsay Kopplow wants to start a youth-led organization that seeks to improve the lives of underprivileged and at-risk children, such as Generation Hope, all that student needs is the idea, the passion, an adult faculty member to help facilitate, and a few fellow students who want to help out.
I’m pretty sure when I was that age the only things I organized were my CD collection and maybe the perishables in the refrigerator. These ambitious critical thinkers are participating in mandatory internships with the City of Frisco, Scottish Rite Hospital, Toyota, Nokia, and many more local companies to gain real-world work experience and leadership skills.
The leadership is contagious too. With grades 5-12 all in one building, it’s easy to see how the empowerment and encouragement create an example for all students as they evolve through the program. Last year was the first graduating class of students who studied all four years (9-12) through the high school curriculum. That graduating class of 60 students amassed $2 million in scholarships with roughly 95% going on to four-year universities and the remaining forging their path at trade schools.
As Floyd attests, the longer the students stay in the curriculum the better. Trepidation can stifle creativity so the benefit of watching your older peers create, lead, and thrive provides a special level of confidence in voicing your own ideas and blazing your own trail.
Don’t Sweat the Soft Skills
Looking back on my own experience in school, I wish I had learned a little less about pre-calculus and a little more about balancing a checkbook. I wish I had spent less time on integers and more time on interviews. What if you could get all of that without sacrificing the regular book learning?
Verbal and written communication are sometimes undervalued skills in education yet very valuable in leadership and the real world as a whole.
Speaking of writing, one of the recent graduates of Leadership Prep School, Leo Quevedo, is studying political writing in college. He told everyone he was going to become president of the United States, and as Floyd puts it, no one at LPS questioned it. This dude wrote the by-laws of their student government. That’s the empowerment I’m talking about.
When you have a school that has its own TEDx youth events, guides learners towards leadership, and also gives those young, bright minds the freedom to find and create their own paths then you’re truly building a future. It’s not just a future for the student. It’s a future for anyone and everyone involved with that student.
(Honest truth: I wonder if LPS accepts 43-year-old dads who’d like a “do-over.” We can chalk it up to continuing education? Maybe?)
All in the Family
With an enrollment capped at 100 per grade level, the students and staff are a close-knit group. I graduated with 1500 students and sat next to a girl with my same last name. It was the first time I’d ever seen her, and I don’t even remember her first name. Leadership Prep School is where everybody knows your name. And everybody wants you to succeed.
When you’re empowering the future leaders and lawmakers of the world, you put them in a position where they aren’t timid about speaking up and speaking out. Most people feel comfortable having their own voice when they know their voice will be heard, appreciated, and supported. That’s what family does, and that’s what Leadership Prep School does.
I come from a family of many who currently or used to teach or work in education. I worked in education, just not in the classroom. I’ve seen firsthand how passionate educators develop motivated learners into confident leaders. Speaking with Audra Floyd was no different. I could hear her passion for empowering and encouraging future leaders dripping out of my phone so much so that I had to put my phone in a bag of rice to save it after our call wrapped up.
I’m sure we’ll always have students, regardless of where they learn, who ask themselves, “When am I ever going to use this in my future?” That’s a natural question to ask. But I appreciate that there are institutions like Leadership Prep School that want their leaders to not be afraid to also ask, “How can I use this to change the future?”