On Tuesday, November 18, the entire Tabor community worked together on defining and refining student leadership at Tabor at the 2ndAnnual Graboys Leadership Symposium.
The Symposium, which varies from year to year, begins with proposals from some of the faculty, who come up with their plan and concept for the day. After one is selected, the organizer begins working with Lois and George Graboys, graduates of the 1950 school year, to plan the dynamic event.
Richard DaSilva (’89), a history teacher at Tabor, organized this year’s program.
The theme DaSilva chose was “Leadership Starts Here” in order to highlight the current opportunities for student leadership at Tabor and how to develop or refine the current opportunities offered at the school by the sea.
DaSilva hoped to “complement” Chris Millette’s “future-based” program from last year, which highlighted how Tabor leadership opportunities can shape the future.
Millette’s program included a number of featured speakers, including Jack Clark, the rugby coach at The University of California, Berkeley, and allowed students to gain a valuable understanding of what leadership is and its importance.
DaSilva worked with the Graboyses, whose children established the annual event as a gift for their parents last year to honor their dedication to leadership.
“They helped me shape what the day was going to be,” says DaSilva of their meetings throughout the planning process. “They knew that my day was a little different and they were open to the new ways that I wanted to get things across.”
DaSilva planned this day as one “for students and about students,” and five recent Tabor graduates came to speak about their time at Tabor and the leadership positions that they held and valued.
Students were then split up into a number of specific groups to evaluate and create plans of action for different types of leadership at Tabor.
The leadership topics were Residential, Academic, Athletic, Diversity, Community Service, International, Global Service, Student Affairs/Class Offices, Alumni Development and the Mission Statement. This covered all areas of the school and at the end of the day, students shared the different proposals that they came up with during their smaller sessions.
DaSilva called this sharing period “the best part of the day” because he was blown away by “the volume of what they came up with.”
During the brainstorming period, faculty left students to develop their own proposals. Student ideas ranged from an international café, to sharing global news, to a student athletic committee, and to improve school spirit and team dynamics.
“Every group found a challenge and every group found a solution,” DaSilva said of the workshop component of the day. But he believes that many students already had these ideas and finally had a platform in which to discuss them productively.
Faculty and students alike are already taking action to implement these new ideas that came from the student proposals. The Tabor community is already looking forward to seeing these ideas come alive.
“The community met and exceeded what our expectations were,” said DaSilva of the success of this year’s symposium.
Next year’s symposium is expected to be unique and different from the preceding years, but will likely once again highlight the importance and value of leadership opportunities at Tabor.
By Julia O’Rourke