By Sarah Troxler
Committed. Compassionate. Open-minded. Inclusive. Thinking outside the box. Collaborative. Communicative. Gracious. All these are among the leadership qualities our South Shore Conservatory (SSC) Student Leadership Team (SLT) members seek to emulate. Each year, students on the team commit (or re-commit) for an entire school year, by signing that they will strive to embody the qualities of a leader in the SSC community and on the South Shore. Three years ago, the fourteen original members of the team created that list, and today’s team of twenty-one are continuing to follow the tradition.
Students on the leadership team come highly recommended by their SSC teachers, and attend high schools all across the South Shore, from Milton to Plymouth. They represent many different disciplines at SSC: piano, strings, woodwinds, voice, dance, rock bands, chamber groups, and SSC Youth Orchestra. Many have been at SSC since they were little, but some have only been here for a couple years. Either way, they see SSC as a place where they thrive and have learned to grow as artists and as people.
So, this group of dedicated student leaders have decided to give back. They want to reach into every corner of the SSC community, meet new people, and help them to have the same positive and life-changing experience that they are having with the arts. This year, they desperately wanted to connect with SSC’s Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten program, which some of the student leaders themselves attended as youngsters.
When I met with SLT members, and we imagined a holiday caroling event we could share with the preschool program, the buzz and excitement in the room were palpable! It was a no-brainer! Ideas were flying, and students immediately started working on planning an event to share with the preschoolers. Split into mini teams to get the work done, the student leaders covered logistics such as timing, invitations, and snack donations, crafts, and story time. One group even formed a band and practiced all the carols so they were prepared to accompany the singing!
Hayley Cardillo, a junior, and one of two student interns leading the team says, “I’m super excited for this activity with the preschool, because the team has been working really hard to make it fun. I think it’s such a good start to bring different communities together!”
Three years ago, if you had asked me what I was doing to celebrate the holidays, this would not have been on my list. I simply would not have thought of it. Yet since then, a group of high-schoolers have opened up my eyes to see those around me in a new way. I am proud of their collective initiative, and have learned to ask, “how can I connect with that person,” and “how can I include them,” and “how can we work together?”
On Friday, December 13, the Student Leadership Team will get their opportunity to spread their joy of music and the holidays with some of the youngest students at SSC. I cannot wait for what this inspires them to do next!
Learn more about South Shore Conservatory programs, including SSC’s art-integrated Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten programs, at sscmusic.org, find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook, or call 781-749-7565.
Sarah Troxler is South Shore Conservatory’s Student Engagement Coordinator and SSC’s Piano Department Chair.