Rewarding Student Perseverance and Grit

While we focus on leadership development across our entire school culture, both formally and informally, the ultimate leadership appointment for Hillside students is that of Prefect. Each  spring we go through an open nomination process to allow students to apply or encourage others to apply for the Prefect role. After a long series of interviews and discussions a small group of students make the cut and are announced, and given their coveted vests as a signal of their acceptance into this elite group. Each year, however, there are excellent students and emergent leaders who fail to make the cut. We make a point of meeting with those boys regularly to let them know that their journey has not ended, and that determination and perseverance can help them reach their goals.

Last night, during our annual Thanksgiving Chapel Service, I am happy to say that we announced the appointment of two new Prefects. Both great guys, and both boys who failed to make the initial cut. I have a great deal of respect for these boys, and for mid-year appointees in general. These students used their failure to earn Prefect last spring as an opportunity to work harder towards self improvement. They did not give up. Their determination, dare I say grit, earned them Prefect. 

I am sure that other schools use this form of open enrollment for leadership positions, and if they don’t, I hope they will. We need to continue to cultivate in students the mindset that it is acceptable to fail on your first try, and that improvement and success are attainable through continued hard work. Recognizing students determination and improvement through formal programs like this is one way of celebrating grit. I wish these two the best of luck, and look forward to other mid-year appointees as other boys follow their examples of personal growth.


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