Prefect Retreat

December 16, 2010 at 9:41 am 1 comment

Marc Kets, Associate Dean of Students

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This past Saturday, the prefects along with Chris Wegemer were invited to join me at the beautiful home of Valerie Velez, mother of Lucas Lilieholm ’06 and Annie Lilieholm ’09, for a chance to come together in an off campus setting albeit one that isn’t particularly far from IAA.

These sessions are important in that they give the prefects a chance to talk about successes and failures and to have an open and honest discussion about how the first three months of their tenure have gone.

The prefects usually meet once a week on Fridays, but in addition to these meetings I am planning on getting them together for longer sessions at strategic points of the year that are more retrospective in nature. The simple goal is for them to feel vindicated in the great work that they are doing and to do some professional development-type work that will hopefully give them some of the necessary skills that they may need as they move onwards into their college and working lives.

We began by revisiting what a leader is, something which we did during Prefect Week, and whereas some of the qualities remained true such as caring, openness, bravery and leading by example, there were also some qualities that they seemed to realize were of paramount importance; time management, being consistent, not taking sides and being selfless without giving too much of yourself away so it impacts the work that you are doing. I asked them to share incidents that have happened where they think it went well, and incidents were they felt that it didn’t go as well. In many cases we determined that their perception of what didn’t go well did indeed work as they did the right thing by getting their dorm parents, trustworthy peers and other members of faculty involved. Ultimately for the prefects it is a case of putting out the little fires, but when something big comes over the ridge you call the Fire Department. A cheesy metaphor granted but given our surroundings one that rings true.

The next step was to look at their prefect pledges that they wrote in September and to analyze them and rewrite them so that they hold true for the next couple of months leading up to Spring Break when we will have our next session. I preach to the group that they should work on attainable goals and not unrealistic goals that may sound great to the group but ultimately will be impossible to achieve as goals that you don’t achieve in this manner aren’t even worth the paper that they are written on. Before they rewrote their pledges, I grouped them into small groups of 3 or 4 prefects and encouraged them to have a ten minute discussion on what it means to be a prefect. Some interesting and salient points were made during this time which gave them some food for thought.

After the discussion, the prefects were told to choose a place in the house where they could be alone and rewrite their pledges. After this we came together as a group and they read their pledges to each other.  I always remind them that this a verbal contract with each other, one that states that you will hold true to your word and support each other. The pledges were written with a great deal of thought and when they achieve them, and I am certain that they will, the community that we live in will be all the better for it.

For the last 40 minutes of the retreat, Val lead us in a council session during which someone is asked to open an honest discussion by lighting a candle, and then that same person closes the discussion by blowing out the candle at the end. Now as what is said during these exchanges is highly confidential, I am sure that you can forgive me for not divulging state secrets at this point but all I can say however is that the group really came together during this time in a way that pleasantly surprised me.

With no disrespect meant to the two groups that I have worked with in the past, I can honestly say that this prefect group has wholly impressed me. They hold the values of the school true and have worked unbelievably hard this year to make IAA a wonderful place for both students and faculty alike to live and work in.

I would also like to thank Valerie for opening up her home and bringing her wonderful energy to the process. I even joined in with the group hug at the end, and for a city boy where this is usually a big no-no it says a lot as to how much it mean to me and the group as a whole.

I am also extremely pleased to announce that the following students have been chosen by the students and faculty for Student Government for 2011:

Junior Class President – Maddie Marlow (Dance)
Junior Class Secretary – Kevin Jang (Visual Art)
International President – Ariann Murad (Dance)
International Secretary – Veronica Kim (Visual Art)
Senior Class Co-President – Morgan Wilson (Dance)
Senior Class Co-President – Juwan Lockett (Theatre)

Entry filed under: campus culture, student services. Tags: , , , .

Introducing… The Resource Center Casting a Long Shadow

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jeff Sherman  |  December 18, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks Mark for all you do and a great experience at the retreat. You are greatly appreciated.


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