August 21, 2010, my fifteenth birthday, was the day I arrived in Allendale, Michigan. It wasn’t long before I found myself in a group of friends, joined the football team, and began my freshman year of high school.
The first day I walked through the doors at Allendale, I shook hands with a great leader, a man of character, and a man of principle: our high school principal Mr. Remenap. Although at the time I may not have realized it, I wanted to become a man like him someday, yet somehow at the time as a freshman, I did not feel able or qualified to do so.
For the next two years of high school, I pursued many things: academic success, friendships, jobs, and sports, to name a few. During my sophomore year, I became a part of Coach Brose’s leadership class. Here I began to understand certain character traits that enable a great leader.
At the beginning of my senior year, I recalled what had inspired me so on that first day of school at Allendale. I reconsidered all I had learned from Mr. Remenap’s example and Coach Brose’s class. In AP English, I decided to write my capstone paper on the topic of great leadership. After much research and much thought, I concluded that leadership is less about a position of power, authority, or management, and more about a person’s character and example being a positive influence on others, encouraging them to achieve greatness. I learned that leadership is vital to society and that leadership is called out of all of us in various areas of our lives.
Of the many things I learned at Allendale High School over the past four years, lessons about leadership were the most important.