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One of the things I love about social media and the emergence of blogging (as opposed to “old school” websites) is that it not only allows you to find information but to connect with others. When you read something and have something to say, it pushes you to think deeper in order to comment – enter the dialogue… The engagement we hear so many speak about is much deeper than just casual chatter, it’s the result of thoughtful contribution through our interactions that allow us to share ourselves through our views and build relationships as a result.

We are all made up of different experiences, thoughts, behaviors – many of these with their roots in our upbringing and childhood.

Last year I read a blog post, “I Was Born this Way. Asking Entrepreneurs: Were you?” by Tobey Deyes, an excellent thought provoking post and great example of an engaging read, which inspired many wonderful comments asking readers to dig back into childhood and share.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by the Private School Expo for participation in a “Blog Hop”. The idea was to write about a childhood memory from school. As I reflected on my childhood experiences – one story came to mind – very much in the same way Tobey’s post had inspired me, this blogging challenge Lead me to thinking…

The same question could be asked of leadership, where is it born?

Photo from The Priory School

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My old school sweater, something that to this day, although I really have no use for, have never been able to part with. Great memories The Priory School.

My Story

When I was 11 years old, I attended the Priory School in Westmount, Quebec. Many of the teachers who were there then, have only just retired in the past couple of years, the dedication to their students, their caring and involvement in students personal development was strongly felt. I loved my school, I loved going there every day, the environment was always warm in every aspect down to the home made meals, and their notorious macaroni and cheese.

The Key To The Attic.

Out of pride for my school, it occurred to me one day, that we did not have our own school paper. From all I had seen on TV, great schools had great papers. So I approached the teachers, other students and anyone who would listen with the suggestion of a school paper. The resources were not there. I was sure if we had the vision, there must be a way. I came up with solutions to all the things stopping us. Then, one day the principal of the school, Miss. McConnon approached me. She told me that she had heard about the idea and my proposal. She told me that if I could take care of the “red tape” (printing , production, writing, getting a team together) then she would allow me to publish the first school paper! I was confident that I could do it, and set out to work. I “interviewed” classmates, built a team who could write and draw, asked my Dad (who had his own company) if I could use his photocopier for the printing, ran a contest for our “mascot” and came back to Miss McConnon with the details.

Our most artistic member, Sean, showed us all how to draw this image which became the mascot and logo of The Priory Press (1985-1986) – I can still remember how to draw it!

When I presented my plan, not only did she give me approval, but she recognized there would have to be somewhere to have “meetings” and do all the work, so she entrusted us with the keys to the school attic, which became the “top secret” hideout and home of “The Priory Press” the school’s first newspaper – published and written by a very small group of kids (there were 4 of us) filled with energy and vision and passion.

Who would have thought the seeds of leadership would be nurtured by a key to an attic? Yet they were.

Above and Beyond

This story is probably one of the most amazing stories I can think of in how a teacher, educator and school went above and beyond to encourage and nurture a child’s dreams. When this opportunity to share a school related story came up, this immediately came to mind. If you were to ask me where leadership is born, I would have to tell you in childhood. Having parents, friends, schools and teachers to recognize these things drive us all forward. Miss McConnon, in the true spirit of the Priory School, recognized this. She went above and beyond to make sure that my ideas were encouraged. Where I am sure so many others may have simply closed the door on the dream, she gave me the key.

This support and belief in me from the school, nurtured more seeds than she could have realized, as I have gone on through life always believing in my dreams, making plans, setting goals, and always believing that if there is a way, I can find it.

Friends and family play an important part, but when you surround yourself, or your kids with encouragement from all angles, this is where you will see the ultimate success.

Opportunities like this do not simply exist at private schools, they exist everywhere where educators can see the true potential in the child. A great deal of my admiration goes out to The Priory School for their dedication to maintaining this approach of nurturing and empowering their students throughout the past 25 years (since I was there). When it came time for my own daughter to attend school, this is also where she found a home and the same kind of support I had received many years before.

The Impact of Caring Educators

I have always considered myself privileged to have had parents who believed that one of the most important things, besides love, was education. They were not wildly rich, they worked hard and made my education a priority. When I was young, I heard about how important is was and it all made sense, but as an adult I can’t tell you how many countless times I have reflected on the different schools I have attended and the different advantages I have had simply because of the extra support I received in school.

I believe education should be accessible to all, there are extremely hard working people in the school system, they are heroes shaping our world for the future of the children, who become our leaders.

If I can leave you with nothing else from this post, remember that children are formed into adults by their experiences, the more we can offer them – not just as our own children, but in the population, the better our world will be.

I think leadership stems from many things, but I believe it is born when children find support, encouragement and guidance to make their dreams realities and realize the potential in their ability. What do you think?


Full Disclosure: Bloggers were compensated to participate in this “Blog Hop”. Content requirements were to share a school memory . My comments here are my own and felt from the heart.

Because this blog is to support education, I will also in turn be “supporting education” by donating my stipend from this post to Share the Warmth, an organization here in Montreal that provides school supplies, breakfasts and lunches to kids in need.

Their Mission is:

“To Awaken Hopes and Dreams by Overcoming Hunger and Poverty”

Please consider donating to them if you can – if you have kids in private schools – or consider donating to an organization in your area. The education and well being of children in this world are all our responsibilities. Please help be the change.

I will end this post on this note:

I can never show enough gratitude for the people who have touched my life, encouraged and supported me.

Brilliance and access to education should not be limited by money. For those of us who have had these privileges, we should use that knowledge to give back to the world because the more people who get the support and encouragement they need, the better this world will be.

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I’m participating in the Our Kids Private School Expo Blog Hop.

Yesterday’s School Memories post can be found on “Good Karma baby!

Join the conversation!
Twitter: hashtag #OKSchoolMem

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ourkidsnet
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