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Why We Should Follow Our Students

By Hovig Demirjian

While many disagree about the right term to describe the recent uprisings that Lebanon has witnessed, there is a consensus that the incidents had strong implications on many schools in the country. The economic and financial crisis brought thousands of young citizens and school-aged children into the streets to voice their anger and frustration. Without a doubt, students have been an integral part of this movement. After much thought, I personally followed a group of my students, walking behind them as they chanted for justice, fairness, and economic equality. I concluded that, as a principal, I have a lot to learn from students’ leadership and courage. For many years, we educators have been revising and implementing programs, plans, and methods aimed at instilling leadership skills in our students. While there has been an observable enhancement in implementing experiential learning methods in schools worldwide, the missing piece in all of these plans was the actual stage on which students could authentically showcase their skills. This time the opportunity—sad though it may be—presented itself to them. Leadership skills taught within the safety of classroom walls and on school campuses moved beyond these boundaries to reach a wider audience in the public square. As many students are expecting change to happen soon, they are now challenged with greater responsibilities. The challenge ahead involves not only leading with courage but also serving with integrity. Hovig Demirjian is Associate Director of Eastwood International School in Lebanon.

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