Be the Change

Be the Change
Kara McDuffee

“Be the change.” This is a phrase that will be repeated often throughout the upcoming school year at Brewster. It is the theme for Brewster’s student leadership team, and students have already put these three words into action during registration weekend.

As new families arrived on campus the weekend of September 4, many were greeted by student leaders donning “Be the change” T-shirts. Almost 50 student leaders cut their summer short to participate in leadership training and prepare for registration. These student leaders, chosen last spring after a multi-step application process, played a primary role in welcoming new classmates into the student body.

“The overall goal for our student leaders is to get them to recognize that they can make a huge difference in this school,” Assistant Head of School Dolph Clinton said. “We’re helping them understand how quickly they can transform the school if they start by building relationships.”

The desire to build relationships wasn’t a hard sell. During their leadership training, the student leaders talked about what they wanted out of the year. “Community” immediately emerged as a theme. The students then developed this theme with intentional discussions and workshops, which were led by Brewster’s new assistant deans, Rob O’Blenis and Allie Cooper. For four days, the group set goals, brainstormed ideas, and worked through different action steps to turn the goal of “community” into reality. 

Student leaders also created a plan for how to embrace new students into the community. They spent an afternoon working with Brooklyn Raney, an experienced workshop facilitator with a background in boarding schools. Raney walked them through a series of icebreakers and games, which they implemented into Upper School and Lower School Orientation.

“It’s great to see the students take the lead on things like this,” O’Blenis said about Orientation weekend. “After all, they’re going to be the ones to help ground our community and make positive changes moving forward.”

Student leader president Katie Carey ’22 and vice-president Ezra Colcord ’22 also echoed this sentiment in the first All-School Meeting of the year. Each senior talked about their hopes for students to be present, try new things, stay curious, and work together to make it a memorable year. After offering some advice, Ezra posed the question, “What is it going to take for us as students to get involved and make this one of the most memorable years of our lives?”

If the first week of school is any indication, the students are off to a great start in answering that question.

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