Fall 2011

Leading for the Future

A Student Perspective: Tomorrow’s Leaders Must Have Opportunity to Lead Today

A Student Perspective: Tomorrow’s Leaders Must Have Opportunity to Lead Today

For the past 13 years I have been a student at a small independent school in St. Petersburg, Florida. Shorecrest Preparatory School has given me a top-notch education, provided me with amazing opportunities, and passed on life lessons, which have shaped me into the scholar, but more importantly, the leader of society I am today.
A Student Perspective

For the past 13 years I have been a student at a small independent school in St. Petersburg, Florida. Shorecrest Preparatory School has given me a top-notch education, provided me with amazing opportunities, and passed on life lessons, which have shaped me into the scholar, but more importantly, the leader of society I am today.

The most vital aspect of my education has been the teachers.

These members of the faculty honestly care about each and every student who walks through their classroom doors. They work incredibly hard to pass on as much knowledge as they can and push every student to do their very best. They teach more than just the curriculum, they teach life lessons, which mold their students into active, positive, and efficient leaders of society.

The “Hard” Teacher

Mr. David Field is just one of the many outstanding teachers who have influenced my life. I had the honor of taking three of his math classes in high school: Honors Geometry, Honors Pre-Calculus, and BC Calculus. I have learned so much from his class, not only how to find the area under a given curve, but also how to work hard and accomplish a goal. He taught me, if you do not understand something, you ask questions immediately and solve the problem from the start. All of these lessons have transferred over from math class and into my everyday life, allowing me to excel as a leader in my community.

Mr. Field is known throughout the student body as a “hard teacher.” While spending an hour of your night trying and re-trying to solve a problem, the thought that his class is extremely difficult may cross your mind, but Mr. Field is hard at work trying to pass on as much knowledge as he can and pushes every student to do their very best. The problem solving techniques I learned in math class transposed into solving problems as a leader. While being Mr. Field’s student, I learned persistence is needed in order to accomplish anything. Continuous drive, which I learned through countless hours of practice problems in Mr. Field’s class, shifted into not giving up when things do not work out the way they are planned. There is always more than one way to solve a problem, both in and out of math class.

Relay For Life

Along with passionate teachers, education is backed by opportunity. My schooling at Shorecrest has furnished me with vast opportunities to excel as a leader in my community. With numerous ways of getting involved, leadership provides students the ability to make a difference, and by supplying clubs and organizations dealing with all different topics and causes, everyone has a chance of getting involved in something they care about. Giving younger students the option of joining a club allows for an early connection. They begin to identify with the organization and grow up within it. As they develop as students and move up through the years, they continue to be involved as a member and grow to be involved as a leader.

When I was in 7th grade, my school became a Relay For Life Host School. Relay For Life is an event that brings together the community in the fight against cancer as it raises money for the American Cancer Society. Since the beginning I chose to participate in our School’s Relay For Life as a team captain. Team Captain is the perfect opportunity for members of the community to step into a leadership role. As team captain, these budding leaders are in charge of organizing their team’s fundraisers prior to and during Relay For Life, as well as keeping connected with the committee that runs the event.

As I passed through middle school and into high school, I took with my involvement in Relay For Life with me. I continued to be a team captain every year. In addition, I became more involved as Entertainment Chair for my sophomore and junior years of high school. As the Entertainment Chair I planned the activities for the overnight event including relay races, scavenger hunts, and contests.

Before beginning my senior year at Shorecrest, I looked at the community in which I was about to spend my last year as a student before college, and I thought to myself: How could I impact this school which has helped me in so many ways? I set up a meeting with my school’s headmaster, Mr. Michael Murphy, and I asked him if I could be the event chair for that year’s Relay For Life. I was asking to be given a leadership position that was traditionally held by an adult in the community, typically a parent. Now I do have to say, getting Mr. Murphy to say yes was no easy task. I was asked to provide him with a game plan of what I was going to do, and how in the world I would have time for this on top of applying for college, being enrolled in four AP classes, participating in the theatre program, as well as serving as Senior Class President and Co-Student Council President. I guess I said the right things, because I became the first high school student Event Chair of a Relay For Life in the state of Florida. As I worked on putting together the final Relay For Life I would participate in as a high school student, I turned to the people who know me best, my peers. I put students in all the major leadership positions on my committee. My goal was to turn our Relay For Life into a completely student run event.

Chance to Lead

To be a leader, one must be provided with the opportunity. Given the chance to lead is the first step in becoming an active and influential member of any community. Being a leader means to be a problem solver, to be charismatic, and to be innovative.

While in the future, society will be different and the situations in which people must lead may differ, I believe the qualities that make good leaders will remain the same. Leaders will always need to solve problems, leaders will always need to be able to intrigue others, and leaders will always need to find new paths in the process. My schooling has taught me how to be a great leader, and my experience leading has taught me how to be a great member of society. In order to be a leader of tomorrow’s society, one must lead today. Give students the chance to make a difference.

Austin Fuss was recognized as the Outstanding Senior from the Class of 2011 at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, FL. He graduated Cum Laude and is now attending Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

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