BSS’s Leadership Structure

Avery Cho

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Leadership is present in every functional and dysfunctional system around the world. The Bishop Strachan School’s leadership system gives every girl a chance at being a leader and creates a community where the students are in charge –  or this is what you may think.

The problems with the leadership system are side effects of issues rooted in the social structure of BSS.  The problem is that every voter is uneducated. Students vote for candidates based on superficial judgments, such as looks and who seems “cool.” The system tries to reduce the effects of this through weighted votes, where Grade 11 votes are worth more than Grade 7 votes, because not only are Grade 11s more educated on the school system, but they are also supposed to know the candidate better. This simply does not work, however. In a grade of over one hundred people, one is simply unable to understand the capabilities of each candidate. Sure, you might know who they’re friends with and what people think about them, but you cannot understand their goals and commitment to the position. The election process only perpetuates the problem. The two minute speeches aren’t judged based on the issues that they speak to but the number of laughs they get.

The leadership system is also burdened by the power that titles have. Students are no longer focused on the change that they can make or the impact they can have, but instead how many titles they can accumulate over the years to put on a university application. Instead of focusing on their personal interests, they are worried about competing with their peers. This results in an over saturation of applicants for positions such as pillar prefects, where voters are simply unable to read through sixty plus platforms or even scroll through sixty names to vote, and a contrasting lack of commitment in councils and clubs. People are so interested in being able to write their involvements on an application that once they obtain a position, all the enthusiasm previously displayed vanishes. This creates many problems because club and council members form the foundation of the BSS system and create the change and community that are essential for a healthy school environment.

For an effective leadership system, BSS needs to focus on a more extensive selection process. Obviously the democratic system where students have a say should not be abolished, as students ultimately know best how the leaders affect their school experience. Instead, some of the decisions should be left to those outside of the social influence of the school. Candidates need to be more thoroughly interviewed to get a feel for their skills and abilities rather than being slated and voted on by their name in the social scene. This will allow voters to build a successful leadership system that supports a successful school by choosing a candidate from fewer options. Furthermore, the importance of clubs and councils needs to be emphasized so that students are not just focused on the title of “prefect” and are able to see their importance in every role that they obtain over their years at BSS.

Although there are many pitfalls in the leadership system there are many strengths as well. BSS allows students to try many new things and learn a sense of responsibility. Mr. Landry, one of the teachers in charge of leadership at BSS, says, “there are so many ways for girls to get involved with both formal positions and ideas and initiatives of their own. With the hectic lives we all seem to be living now, finding the time to get involved is an ever-growing challenge. Balance and self-care should always come first.“ Similarly, Grade 12 student Sarah Nathens says that she “loves the opportunities she has had to get involved in different aspects of student life through the leadership system.”

BSS allows girls to reach their potential and develop a sense of leadership. These are essential skills for our future. There simply must be changes that allow the system to be based on drive and commitment rather than popularity and image.