By Helene Sughrue, Faculty
On Tuesday, November 18, Tabor held its second annual Graboys Leadership Symposium, a program created by the Graboys children to honor their parents, Lois & George Graboys ’50. Tabor faculty member Rick DaSilva ’89 designed this year’s symposium to complement last year’s, a program that centered on the idea that, as 2013 Symposium coordinator Chris Millette suggested, “leadership is making those around you better and more productive.” Mr. DaSilva focused on “grassroots leadership” and on the premise that “leadership starts here,” the theme for this year’s symposium.
Mr. DaSilva worked with Advancement Officer Sara Yeransian to bring several young alums back on to campus so that students could “hear from grads they would connect with in lots of ways.” After hearing Megan Rilkoff ’09, Chris Hall ’09, Kelly Foley ’08, Perry Dripps ’06, and Marvin Pierre ’02 discuss what they are doing now and how their Tabor experience has helped them along the way, students broke off into “hubs”--Academics, Athletics, Alumni, Diversity, Community Service, Arts, Class Offices, International, and Student Affairs--and then into smaller groups within those hubs to define leadership, to identify existing leadership opportunities, and finally to brainstorm new opportunities. After working in small groups, the hubs re-convened and decided which of their newly created leadership roles they would present to the school at the end of the day. Many groups suggested joint committees made of up students and faculty to help decide everything from proctor selection to curriculum; other groups would like to take roles already in place--peer tutors, for example--and expand the program to other areas of the school, like the arts.
As he planned the day, Mr. DaSilva wanted to give students the opportunity “...to take a look at leadership in a new way--to be creative and to come up with ideas that we can use right away.” Toward that end, students worked independently in the last session of the symposium--without faculty input--as they came up with new leadership opportunities. He wanted students to own the synthesis of the abstract concept and the concrete application of leadership.
We appreciate both the Graboys family and Mr. DaSilva for creating a day where students were, as Mr. DaSilva hoped they would be, “empowered to make change.”