Graboys Leadership Symposium

The Graboys Leadership Symposium is an annual event at Tabor Academy, planned each year by a different faculty member who applies for a grant to share their ideas of leadership with students and faculty over the course of one day. It is no small undertaking to arrange a learning experience for the whole school to participate in.

This is the fourth symposium, planned for October 31. The first looked at leadership through teamwork and how everyone can be a leader by making those around them better. The second was a bit more literal, taking a good look at the leadership roles at Tabor and which really were valuable and valued, and which could be improved to be more substantive. The third explored the leadership embodied within social entrepreneurism as a way to solve society’s gravest problems. Now, this year’s Symposium Chair, Frank Townsend, is thinking about super heroes!

Townsend, a classics teacher and Chair of the Modern and Classical Languages Department, is hoping to have students see that how they choose to express themselves might be a way to help advance social issues. Inspired by illustrations and statues of Greek heroes saving the day, he is hoping to illuminate the leadership demonstrated by artists who depict stories of our common struggle. He will focus on super heroes depicted in comic books as one example of this creative expression.

After reading one of four comic books related to social justice, students will hear from author/artist Joel Gill who will share why he chose the medium of comic books to share his story of racial discrimination and exclusion. The other books, by different authors, also raise themes of exclusion through this accessible art form. Discussion will ensue where students will explore what leadership is being exhibited through these works; what ideas, controversial or complicated, are being shared, spread, and awakened in us.

Next, alumna Sally Taylor ’92 of Martha’s Vineyard will share her enormously complex art installation project with us called Consenses: Art Makes Sense. Sally is interested in perception and how people can really come to know the truth of things. She is keenly interested in how seeking that truth brings us into closer connection with each other.

Tabor invites the public to participate virtually. Read one of the comic books (available for purchase on Strange Fruit by Joel Gill; Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson; X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont; Maus I by Art Spiegelman. Visit the websites of author Joel Gill ( and Sally Taylor (, and consider the power of our individual self-expression as one form of leadership to influence our world.

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