In a Catholic school leadership means something more

Try to find a school that doesn’t claim to transform students into leaders. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Public, private, boys, girls, charter, magnet, IB, AP, Language Immersion, Reggio Emilia, VoTech, VoAg, Montessori, Waldorf, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, you-name-it, schools of all shapes and sizes are training tomorrow’s leaders. The promise to make the next generation of leaders is so commonplace that it washes over us.

And you want to know a secret? At Northwest Catholic we sometimes worry that our own promise to graduate leaders might seem hollow.

Then we remember how we define leadership at Northwest.

In our list of core values, we marry leadership to service. We could list each value separately, like most schools do, but this would miss our point. And our grad-at-grad profile could simply state we graduate leaders, but instead we graduate compassionate leaders. There’s a difference. Our leaders serve, and not always with gusto or moxie, but always with mercy and grace.

Reticent or rowdy, mellow or spirited, meticulous or carefree, we celebrate every kind of servant leader at Northwest Catholic. In a world that rewards extroversion and extremes, we look for the listener, the wise, the witness. We know leaders bring their whole selves to the task and those whole selves are rich with gifts, diverse gifts.

Students at Northwest Catholic must complete service hours to graduate. Even during the pandemic, our students are told to get creative and get going. They are writing letters to residents in nursing homes, they’re  zoom-tutoring students from neighboring elementary schools, they’re sorting donations at food pantries, and they continue to provide a meal to Hartford’s hungry the first Monday of every month. Service work at Northwest Catholic doesn’t stop.

At our private, Catholic school we believe in a special brand of leadership – one that inextricably ties leadership to service. There’s no former without the latter, and our leadership’s hitch to service is greased with compassion. This remarkable rub keeps the gears turning. Every day, whether we meet mask-to-mask or on Microsoft Teams, we stick to the mission, and every June we graduate a cadre of servant leaders. At Northwest Catholic they’ve learned that leadership means service, and they know they’re to deliver their very best with compassion.

Now look around again. You’re bound to run into one of our 10,000 alums. Ask them what leadership means to them and ask them where they learned it. We’re confident Northwest Catholic will be their answer.