MHS students, staff travel across Ohio to participate in leadership summit

Student Leadership Summit Participants. Front row (left to right) Rianshi Jindal, Tanji Jadhav, Ella Hardesty,  Tejal Jadhav, Angela Chan, Hanisha Gali. Back row (left to right) Amogh Navada, Malia Collins, Sahasra Uppuganti, Minul Arambewela, Prabhat Majji, Mason High School Principal Bobby Dodd (Not pictured Shubh Gupta). 

Tanya Keskar | The Chronicle

Mason staff and students worked together learning about leadership through unconventional activities while spending the night at a school in Eastern Ohio.

On March 18, 2022, Mason staff and students crossed the state for the Student Leadership Summit hosted by Warren Local Schools in Eastern Ohio. The representative team was MHS Principal Bobby Dodd, MHS English Teacher Betsy Carras and MHS students Rianshi Jindal, Hanisha Gali, Shubh Gupta, Ella Hardesty, Angela Chan, Tejal Jadhav, Amogh Navada, Malia Collins, Sahasra Uppuganti, Minul Arambewela, Prabhat Majji and Tanvi Jadhav. 

It was not a standard leadership conference with the staff as chaperones. Instead, the students and staff were placed into diverse teams with representatives from different schools and with different ages, where they took part in leadership and team-building activities. The conference emphasized coordination between staff and students, and a continuation of the development of leadership skills for everyone involved. The leadership skills developed and exchanged at the conference will be able to influence Mason’s culture.

Dodd took part in activities such as creating a TikTok video, tie-dyeing shirts and human bowling. The event was very fast-paced as the teams were constantly together, either learning about each other or working on leadership activities. They slept in the school, ate meals in the school and spent the entire time in the school. Dodd said that the conference was a very unique experience as he was able to work directly with the students and understand the activities from their point of view He said that he also appreciated being able to step back and let the students take the lead.

“I had never experienced something like this,” Dodd said. “The adults worked together with the students in the family groups for each one of the competitions. It was unique.”

Chan attended the conference to learn more about leadership. She said that she appreciated this opportunity to connect with the staff members and people from different school districts.

“It was weird seeing all of these principles from different schools interacting with their students,” Chan said. “It was a cool experience.”

In attendance were schools from different geographical locations, from Mason to Eastern Ohio, different sizes, and people from different parts of the school system, including teachers, alumni, administration, nutrition workers and students. Carras said that leadership is important for everyone, not only people with titles, and that she was able to learn from the diversity of backgrounds of the conference attendees.

“It was diverse in every way, and I think that was part of the success, because we weren’t all from the same thinking,” Carras said. “Part of leadership is being able to work with people who are different than ourselves”

The different school districts in attendance learned about each other’s school traditions and cultures – classes, fundraising, clubs, and sports. This conference furthered the connections between Mason and other school districts in the area. Chan said that she enjoyed working with the people from other school districts and learning about their different perspectives.

“I love seeing kids from different schools, and I didn’t realize how different schools were,” Chan said. “It was a lot of socializing with other schools, networking and meeting with other people.”

The conference’s unique approach taught its attendees about leadership and the different aspects involved in it. Dodd said that this experience allowed him to reflect on what leadership is.

“It takes a lot of collaborating, it takes a lot of risk taking to see different views and then incorporate change in a building or even in a classroom,” Dodd said. “It reminds me of the amount of collaboration and risk-taking you need to do as a leader in order to grow to be better at what you do and to help our kids and our staff here.”