The Leadership Wednesdays initiative for the Class of 2020 seniors was officially launched on Wednesday, September 4.
In conjunction with their Senior Capstone class, all members of the Class of 2020 are involved in the incredible year-long project that is Leadership Wednesdays.
This activity consists of current seniors going to primary school every other Wednesday to spend time with the youngest members of the ANS family during what would otherwise be their Senior Capstone class. Seniors are each assigned to separate classrooms, and spend more than an hour interacting with students ranging from PK-3 to fifth grade. Some are assigned to specific classrooms like Art or Music.
Leadership Wednesdays was founded and developed in 2018 by current Senior Capstone teacher Mr. Sergio Quiñónez. Last year, the project received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both seniors and primary students, as well as school faculty.
This year, it was no different.
More than fifteen seniors from the G block Senior Capstone class went to primary school on Wednesday, September 4, for their first Leadership Wednesday trip of the school year. Upon returning to secondary school, the Senior Capstone classroom was immediately filled with gushing praise, energetic chatter, nostalgic reflections and humorous anecdotes.
Ana Gabriela Bendaña Peña was simply blown away by the experience. She was beaming not only during her one-hour Leadership Wednesday session, but also for at least half an hour after it.
“I had the most incredible experience with PK-4 because I realized I had the natural ability to engage kids with their respective activities, which I think is essential when you want to work with this grade. Overall, we had such a fun time together, and I am so thrilled that I will be able to get to know my wonderful class more this year!”
Gabriel Vargas, who worked with the K5-B class taught by Mrs. Vivian Espinoza, commented that he was initially unsure on how to interact with the elementary schoolers, but that it soon came naturally and felt amazing.
He stated: “I was terrified of Leadership Wednesdays at first, especially since I knew the kids would be looking up to me the whole time. As a senior, I am expected to be their role model. It’s a lot of responsibility, and I was terrified of it. When I stepped into that classroom, though, wow! It all just all changed. Playing with the kids, talking to them, watching them do things and forming a connection with them was just incredible. It brought back memories and it also made me wish I’d had a senior, too, to bond with when I was young. Now, I feel Leadership Wednesdays … are something to look forward to.”
Faynette Herndon, who worked with Mrs. Elsie Fiallos’ primary school Art class, agreed with Vargas’ comments on how transformative and eye-opening the experience was.
She expressed that “it was a really cool experience! I had never gotten to interact with kids in that environment before, and I could see how they were so eager to engage in the class. There were moments when the kids would even call me ‘Ms.’ — it was surreal to actually see how time has really passed and how we are now the oldest kids in the school.”
In essence, the Leadership Wednesdays initiative has had a significant positive impact to ANS. It has not only helped foster a more inclusive school community, but also further cemented bonds between ANS’ primary and secondary schools. It has allowed students to truly deepen their understanding on how character can be a catalyst for change, and has provided seniors with the opportunity to give back to a community which fostered their growth for so many years.
We look forward to future Leadership Wednesdays to come!