Fredericksburg High School's Media Publication

The Campus Comet

Fredericksburg High School's Media Publication

The Campus Comet

Fredericksburg High School's Media Publication

The Campus Comet

Reeh Plumbing

FHS Shapes Student Leaders

FHS+Shapes+Student+Leaders

Leadership is something that connects us all. Leaders aren’t simply superiors to those around them, they are people who are willing to go that extra mile for those beneath them and set the standard for how things should be.

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and Fredericksburg High School gives a wide variety of leadership opportunities within the school. Whether the Red-Hotts Captain, Front Ensemble captain, or FCCLA president, each of these people play an important role and make a difference for their followers and their school.

“The most important part about being a good leader is creating a connection and leading the team to be leaders themselves,” Red-Hotts Captain Kaylee Crenwelge said.

This will be Kaylee’s fourth year on the Red-Hotts drill team. She served as an officer last year, and now, in her final year at FHS, she leads her team as an encouraging and exemplary captain. Kaylee strives to give her team a safe, positive environment, and she has already helped them accomplish so much this season.

“My favorite part about being captain is absolutely the team and the girls,” Crenwelge said. “Seeing the reflection of our work coming together just means a lot. It shows that the work I’m doing, and the other officers are doing, is actually helping to achieve our goal.“

Though to some it may appear easy, being a leader is tough stuff. Facing challenges within your team can be extremely daunting, especially when the people you’re leading are the same age as you.  It can be difficult to establish a role that your peers will respect and look up to.

Front Ensemble Captain, Addison Hahn, has definitely experienced these challenges as she leads her fellow percussionists.

“It’s my third year, so I know what’s going to work out,” Hahn said. “It can be really frustrating when I’m trying to tell them to do something, but they don’t listen initially and instead come to me when their plans don’t work out.”

Crenwelge also experiences similar dilemmas. To her, the most difficult part of her role is discipline, as is true for many young leaders. She agrees that “laying down the law,” can be quite a strenuous and unpleasant task.

Obviously, as a leader there are many different ways to handle difficult situations and challenges that may arise. There are so many approaches one can take, and as a high school student already dealing with the strains of teenagehood, it’s much easier to take the easy route and shield yourself behind a strict or cruel take on leadership. However, this is not the advice of the Red-Hotts captain.

“My best advice is to lead with compassion and empathy,” Crenwelge said. “Obviously, as a leader you need to have boundaries and set rules and expectations for the team, but I think the most important aspect of leadership is really creating that connection with the girls; between yourself and the team but also helping to spark the fire for relationships among the team. That starts with creating a positive, understanding atmosphere. You have to be kind and almost vulnerable in your position, to be a good leader. My advice is to be yourself, and don’t be afraid to be open.“

Ella Grandjean, the President of FCCLA (Future Career and Community Leader of America), has a similar take on leadership.

“In my opinion a good leader is someone that is humble, that shows integrity,” Grandjean said. “You should be able to help and lift up the others when they’re in a position that they cannot do so. We all have our own crosses to bear. I feel that’s what truly defines a good leader, being inclusive.”

Of course, leadership isn’t all about dealing with issues. It also gives you the opportunity to gain a multitude of experiences and knowledge that will help you grow as a person. According to Hahn, it can be very rewarding to help your team grow into future leaders themselves.

“I love getting to pass on how much I enjoy band and everything I do within it to those coming up, whether that’s freshman or just anyone else below me,” Hahn said.

All of this extra responsibility comes with lots of extra sacrifices. Most FHS student leadership opportunities require a good bit of extra time, which can make it hard to accomplish simple tasks at home, such as getting a good night’s sleep, accomplishing chores around the house, and even simply getting a balanced meal.

“We have to be at rehearsal earlier on Mondays to do things like leadership meeting or moving equipment down,  so finding time to do homework or just be a kid can be hard,”  Hahn said. “You’re stuck in this mindset of: “I have to do everything perfectly!’ -or at least I get like that.”

The pressure that rests on your shoulders when responsible for an entire team or club can also be quite intimidating as well. When in a leadership position, you often have to adjust many aspects of your life in order to better coordinate and balance your responsibilities. However, for some, like Grandjean and Crenwelge, this pressure is just the motivation they need for success.

 “I absolutely enjoy the pressure.” Crenwelge said. “Personally, I thrive under pressure and under a time crunch and constantly being busy. Being responsible for the team and having that extra work load actually helps me in the long run.”

The role of leadership as a student is extremely beneficial for high schoolers. From the challenges they learn to overcome, to the skills they gain, most would agree that the experience is worth it.

“I firmly believe that everybody has the opportunity to be a leader, because leadership isn’t just the title or the position or an office that you hold,” Crenwelge said. “Leadership is a characteristic, a personality trait. It’s something that anybody can have. You can be a leader in any aspect of your life, and being a good leader starts with you and your mindset to create a positive space for the people around you and to inspire them to be leaders also.”

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