The desire to lead is what unites the graduates of KidLead, Harker’s successful after-school offering for lower and middle school students. Several years ago, Harker became one of the first schools nationwide to implement KidLead, an executive-caliber, globally recognized leadership training program designed especially for preteens.
“It attempts to focus on developing leaders who have already demonstrated aptitude in this area and expands upon it,” explained Greg Lawson, assistant head of school for student affairs.
Current KidLead participants were among the group of grade 7 students who earlier this year held an assembly to mark the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Shafieen Ibrahim, grade 7, enrolled in the KidLead program while in grade 5. “I always wanted to be a leader … to be able to work with a team well, develop leadership capabilities, and grow out of my shell,” he added.
This past fall, KidLead graduate Aliesa Bahri, grade 8 organized a commemorative event celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child, to raise awareness about the issues girls face. “The program intrigued me, as I knew that one day I hoped to be a leader in my community. KidLead gave me the opportunity to be a leader in different group situations,” said Bahri.
Alexander Young, grade 7, graduated from KidLead in grade 5 “It gave me the opportunity to interact with fellow classmates and teachers to learn about important leadership skills; these often proved useful when working with others both in and out of the classroom. Topics such as responsibility, commitment, optimism and communication were discussed and practiced. Overall, KidLead is a course that I would definitely recommend,” he said.
KidLead founder Dr. Alan Nelson called Harker “the flagship school” for the program. “According to Harvard, the average age of a first, formal leadership training is 42. So Harker students in this program are getting a 30-year head start!” said KidLead’s Nelson.