Opinion: Why The Center for Leadership Matters

If you asked me last year what my opinion of the newly announced Center for Leadership was, my reaction more likely than not would have been negative. When announced, the CFL seemed to me to be a collection of vague promises as opposed to a concrete program. For weeks, the administration promoted this exciting new center without giving tangible evidence for its potential use. Although the preliminary sketches displayed an intriguing and well-designed space, I was worried that the CFL did not have the necessary foundation to become an integral part of St. Luke’s life. I was quite wrong in this assumption.

The CFL has played an enormous role in my senior year thus far, pushing me to take on new challenges and gain new skills. Here at The Sentinel, we’ve embraced the CFL as our new home. The Global Classroom is an ideal space for a newsroom, with the roundtable promoting discussion and the massive screen displaying our online edition. We’ve certainly come a long way from our little corner in the library.


I have to credit the CFL Team for a job well done so far (full disclosure; Mr. Foley serves as an advisor to The Sentinel). The CFL has been remarkably present in the community, especially for such a new entity. By utilizing both “real world” and digital methods of communication, Mr. Foley has been able to promote the CFL and its broad range of new programs. Who could have expected weekly updates in the student Facebook group? This warm embrace of technology on the CFL’s part has done wonders for both their visibility and accessibility, making sure that students are both aware of the center and confident in their ability to make use of it.

For quite a while I have been a proponent of forward-thinking education. In the “Age of the Internet”, information is everywhere. This surplus of information should not go to waste. The old pedagogy has grown increasingly stale, relying on aging textbooks and an out of date learning model. Why should students limit their knowledge base to one textbook when on their laptop they could access literally millions of websites specifically tailored to their academic pursuit? Why even limit ourselves to the confines of the school when fascinating events and opportunities occur all around us? The world is changing, and education must change with it. Personally, I see the CFL as an opportunity for St. Luke’s to make the jump to forward-thinking education, providing new ways to learn and grow within a school environment. Luckily, this shift is already in motion.

Yesterday, the CFL brought five students, including myself, to Yale University. The purpose of the trip was to hear Thomas Friedman, a distinguished author and New York Times columnist, deliver an address on his new book, That Used to Be Us. Friedman spoke powerfully, meditating on the current state of affairs in America and the problems we will face in the future. Over the course of an hour, Friedman addressed most of the issues that worry America’s youth today, including what jobs will be like in the near future, and how we measure up to our overseas competitors.  Sitting in a Yale University hall, listening to such an influential speaker as Thomas Friedman, I couldn’t help but think that I was experiencing learning on a higher plane. Although lectures are certainly no new innovation, the opportunity to attend such an event is an important step in the direction of progressive education. Through the simple act of signing up for a “field trip,” St. Luke’s students were able to further their knowledge and take part in a true intellectual forum. This type of opportunity is precious, and I would urge the the student body to take advantage of as many CFL programs as possible. Attend a Lunch & Lead. Find out more about a service trip. Stop by the center and introduce yourself.

After all, if the Center for Leadership was able to win over a disgruntled pessimist like myself, it might be able to do the same for you.

— Ben Klein, Editor-in-Chief

Posted by on October 25, 2011. Filed under Op-Ed. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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