The St. Mary’s Leadership Program is seamlessly integrated into the core academic program through projects, discussions, student involvement, and practical application. It focuses on four main principles which form the cornerstones of a strong community: Attitude, Commitment, Engagement and Service (four ACES). Students in Preschool through Lower School learn that leadership is a characteristic which anyone can display. Leaders are everyday people who lead by example and inspire others to become better individuals. Students are often asked to identify and reflect on someone in history, a person integrated into their current course of study, or even in their life that exemplifies the characteristics of a true leader and hero. Opportunities abound through experiences in the classroom, participation in the arts, music and athletic programs, involvement in student government and initiation of service learning projects which allow students to experience leadership at the practical level.
In the Middle School, the Leadership Program is designed to be a three-year, in-depth study into the principles and practices of developing strong leadership qualities. The program begins in Grade 6, utilizing the International Baccalaureate’s Learner Profile to illustrate how these traits are demonstrated in daily practices. Grade 7 explores societal issues, which directly affect adolescents with the objective being to equip students to make educated decisions based on an awareness of their surroundings. Grade 8 actively plans a vision for their educational and professional future by researching careers and professions that match the students’ demonstrated leadership skills and personal interests. By exploring various programs of study at colleges and universities, students are able to select appropriate means by which to fulfill and complete their leadership vision.
The culminating event for the Leadership Program is the Tribute to Leadership Assembly and presentation of the Father Ernest D. Sillers Legacy Award. The Legacy Award, which is given annually, honors a St. Mary’s Grade 8 student who demonstrates and represents the highest standards of St. Mary’s Four Aces of Leadership through their involvement in school, local organizations, and the community.
Father Ernest D. Sillers Legacy Award Recipients: