Training Our Leaders

The Prefect, Proctor, and Day Student Mentor applications were due last Sunday. Three different positions, three different roles, three entirely different sets of expectations, and one application. The questions on the application focused very heavily on what it means to be a “standard-bearer” of Andover’s values. However, due to the nature of the roles and the different types of students that these leaders are given the opportunity to interact with, the three positions are incredibly different — and the application process does not reflect this.

Generalizing these distinct student leadership roles into one group of “standard-bearers” is not the most effective and holistic way of choosing Prefects, Proctors, and Day Student Mentors. A common application for such drastically different positions does not allow students to truly express why they want a specific position in particular. Nor does it give faculty reading applications an accurate idea of how effective a given student would be in one of these specific roles.

This issue of generalization not only exists in the application process, but also in the training these student leaders participate in at the start of the year. While the job descriptions for each position are included as a part of the application, the application and training themselves do nothing to differentiate between the three different roles.

Prefects, Proctors, and Day Student Mentors (not to mention Co-Presidents and EBI Seniors), all go through the same three-day program at the start of the year called Be LOVED orientation, standing for “Be Living Our Values Every Day.” As the title implies, the training is also focused almost fully on how student leaders can best represent the Andover community and the school’s values — an important lesson for student leaders to learn, but not helpful in a practical sense for taking over their different roles. Incoming Prefects, Proctors, and Day Student Mentors need some sort of differentiated training, at the very least, to go along with the current program.

Different leadership roles on campus should have distinct applications and training in order to recognize the variety of roles these students hold and to fully prepare these “standard-bearers” for their responsibilities. An application and training process more tailored to individual roles, in addition to the current training in Andover’s values, would prepare students for their duties much more effectively than they currently are. The strength of student leaders reflects on the strength of our community.

This editorial represents the consensus of The Phillipian, vol. CXLI.