[caption id=”attachment_812” align=”aligncenter” width=”348”] Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Durham Christian High School principal Fred Spoelstra (centre) post for a photo with the school’s leadership class.[/caption]
Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty engaged in discussion on the challenges and rewards of leadership with students at Durham Christian High School in Bowmanville on May 18.
The entire school and community visitors, including a Catholic school politics class and town councillors, attended a special assembly.
The visit marked the seventh leadership summit the school’s leadership class has taken part in this year.
Six Grade 11 and 12 students are in the after-school credited course, and prepared questions in advance for Flaherty.
Questions posed by the students included what are your strengths and weaknesses, what do you do to grow as a leader, and do you have a leadership mentor.
The school is honoured by Flaherty’s visit, says principal Fred Spoelstra.
“It’s certainly a very high-profile event for our school community within our constituency,” says Spoelstra.
The senior students and community attendees seemed to benefit the most, he notes.
Shane Jones, vice-principal and leadership mentor, says Flaherty’s visit brought credibility and visibility to the leadership course.
Because it is an after-school course, Jones says the assembly provided an opportunity for students in the younger grades to see the leadership class in action.
Flaherty treated the leadership students as equals, says Jones, and having someone so recognizable and high in their field brings credibility into the program.
Other leadership summits have featured such leaders as Sportsnet broadcaster and commentator Jamie Campbell, CBC News anchor Anne-Marie Mediwake and Scotia Plaza senior operations manager David Rosewood.
The students sometimes visit the leaders in their boardrooms or offices.
Jones says all the leaders have mentioned in some way how cathartic the experience of being asked the questions is for them.
“It’s so cool to watch the kids be the agents of that in the leaders’ life,” says Jones.
Many of the leaders speak to the importance of being passionate about the work they do, which Jones says echoes what the school has been teaching them.
The course is a way to make interesting connections, says Jones. Many of the leaders offer their business cards to the students for any further questions.
The leadership summits are also a way the school lives out its mission to live God’s call beyond the school’s four walls, he adds.