Grace Goldberg will be the first to tell you she was not always the confident and outgoing young woman she is today. She arrived at Elmwood in the fourth grade feeling shy and timid, afraid to raise her hand in class, or speak up in front of a crowd. But as she settled into her new school, things quickly began to change.
Elmwood students have many opportunities to develop teamwork, communication and leadership skills both in and out of the classroom. Student government at Elmwood is the perfect training ground for future leaders and informed, engaged citizens. Our prefects, led by the Head Girl, generate school spirit, lead and encourage community service and giving back, and act as the voice of the whole student body. Students also lead clubs, sports teams and the Duke of Edinburgh program, and they mentor younger students and act as student ambassadors during school events, tours and open houses.
Tomorrow's Leaders, Today
From our youngest students to our graduates, Elmwood girls are taught to be effective leaders and active citizens. From the moment they step through our doors, girls begin to develop qualities that make a good leader, such as initiative, integrity, reliability, determination, compassion, and fair play. Our supportive, challenging environment encourages each girl to step outside of her comfort zone and take appropriate risks. Frequent opportunities for public speaking ensure that our students are both comfortable and highly competent in this key skill. Older students act as mentors and role models for younger ones, and everyone learns the value of peer support. Some popular leadership opportunities include:
- Mentorship of younger students
- Participation in House Council
- Big Sister/Little Sister program
- Student Ambassador Program to welcome new students to Elmwood
- House Council
- Athletics Council
- Reading Buddies Program with girls in Junior School
As a school with a long history, Elmwood has a number of cherished traditions. One of the longest standing and most treasured is Elmwood’s House System. Each girl is a proud member of one of four Houses, named after famous women: Fry House, Nightingale House, Keller House, and Wilson House. This gives them a sense of belonging to a small, cross-grade "family" within a larger community and builds school spirit and camaraderie.
Our House system is led by Senior students—they choose a programme of social service each year and are responsible for planning and carrying out fundraising activities in support of their chosen charities. Senior School students also have the chance to take on leadership roles and help guide younger students during house events.
Each House has a signature event which raises funds for community causes. The event is planned by each House Prefect and all members of the Elmwood community are welcome to attend, regardless of House affiliation.
Every spring, Elmwood students, faculty and staff elect the student leaders for the coming school year. Candidates write a letter of intent, create a video and give a speech in hopes of securing a Prefect position. The voting process is entirely democratic. Each girl in Grades 5-12 and every staff and faculty member vote for various positions– twelve in total. No one can vote twice for the same position and each vote is weighted the same. The annual outcome is a remarkable, passionate and diverse group of student leaders who help to shape the Elmwood School community.