Tabor will be hosting our second annual Graboys Leadership Symposium on November 18, a day long event when we discuss the importance of leadership as a community. The event honors George '50 and Lois Graboys, who have been champions for youth and leadership education their whole lives.
This year, the program will involve five young alumni: Perry Dripps '06, Kelly Foley '08, Chris Hall '09, Katherine Kung '06, and Meghan Rilkoff '09. Perry kicks things off with a chapel speech on Monday, and then Tuesday morning the alumni group will address the students as part of a panel discussion. Students will then break into small groups to discuss and evaluate leadership roles across school life and make suggestions as to how to make them more effective tools for active learning about leadership. We will then share our ideas as a community and begin crafting a plan of action.
I asked Perry Dripps ’06, a Patient and Family Educator at Boston Children’s Hospital, and our opening chapel speaker, to share a little about what he has learned about leadership to get us thinking about the upcoming event.
What were some your early leadership lessons? Some of my most salient leadership memories at Tabor are from when I was a proctor during junior and senior year. I remember feeling confident in some respects, but I also had a lot of reservations about taking on this role as well. I remember thinking, "How can I build rapport with students without being too 'buddy-buddy'?" "What if I catch a student breaking a rule?" "My friend is in the dorm...is our relationship going to change now that I am his proctor?" Despite these concerns I was persistent and, over time, I began to gain confidence in dealing with these kinds of issues.
What sort of support helped you along? The close mentorship and support of my dorm parents helped me to develop a willingness to make mistakes and to go outside of my comfort zone which really helped me grow and develop as a leader. Proctoring taught me how to listen to others, how to facilitate and take an active role in the group, how to set goals, how to help other people make progress and move forward, and how to empower students to want to make a difference.
What have you been able to apply to your work today? There are many times in my current role when I draw on my experiences from proctoring at Tabor. Probably the most important skill is the ability to listen to others and be empathetic, and to really try and understand things from their perspective. I may not always have all the information and resources that I need to help someone or I may not always agree with them, but if they know that I have good intentions and that I want to help, they will respect my intentions both as a leader and as an individual.
What will you share with the students at the Leadership Symposium? I feel that proctors can have a tremendous impact on the students that they work with and that the lessons that students gain from this experience can last long after high school. This is true of most leadership roles students take on at Tabor. I hope that today's Tabor students are able to have similarly positive leadership experiences as I had.