In March, Dr. Alan Nelson of the nonprofit organization KidLead, which teaches leadership skills to students ages 10-13, spoke at Nichols Hall to parents about how to foster leadership in their children. Harker has been running its own KidLead program since the fall of 2010, and since then at least 70 Harker students have completed at least one KidLead module.
Nelson discussed how parents could identify a child’s knack for leadership, pointing out such traits as the tendency to set goals and good communication skills. Some ways that parents can help children with these qualities grow into leaders include providing activities at home that place the children in leadership roles and by finding people to mentor them. Unfortunately, he said, many parents may end up stifling their children by being overprotective or assuming that only adults are fit to lead.
Students Katelyn Bui and Alexander Young, both grade 5, were honored at the beginning of the seminar with a certificate for being the first two Harker students to graduate from the program. “KidLead piqued my interest when I heard the idea from my mom one day,” Bui said. “I decided to give it a try, and I loved it.”
Participating in KidLead, she said, helped her learn more about herself: “Small opportunities lead to bigger opportunities, which gave me a chance to work with different teammates to overcome challenges and have trust in others, which made me see things in me that I never knew I had.”
It also helped her with cognitive abilities, “like focusing on the task at hand while being under pressure.”
Bui was excited and surprised to receive the award. “I was really stoked when Mr. Connolly announced that Alexander and I were the first ones in Harker history to complete all KidLead modules,” she said. “It was actually not about completing all the modules, but the experience that came along with it.”