Leadership at Marvelwood
Marvelwood's student leadership programs are a crucial part of residential life experience and afford all students the opportunity to affect change and develop lifelong advocacy skills. Leadership opportunities range from traditional roles such as student government representative and dormitory prefect, to less traditional roles such as peer mediator and community service.
Each year, the Office of Admission selects a group of veteran students to be Tour Guides. Tour Guides are selected first and foremost for their passion for the School. Tour Guides must also demonstrate a commitment to academic achievement, be able to relate to adults as well as peers, and show a willingness to be trained for public speaking. The position comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility, as Tour Guides act as ambassadors for the School.
A prospective family's first impression of Marvelwood is often shaped by the Tour Guides, who typically spend 45 minutes to an hour giving an overview of the campus and life at the School. Formal training takes place at the beginning of each school year, and continues throughout the year as the need arises. Tour Guides may be called upon to tour visitors, alumni, Board members, prospective teachers, lower school placement directors or educational consultants. Tour Guides are also asked to participate in student panels for Admissions Preview Days, and can always be counted on for honest and reflective comments and answers.
Whenever a student perspective is required, the Tour Guides are called upon to represent the School and articulate what a Marvelwood education has meant to them.
The Civic Life Project is a unique educational collaboration that challenges students to learn about civics and democracy in an innovative and exciting way. The program begins in the classroom, where participants explore the structure of our democracy, and ends in the theater, where they showcase a short documentary of their own creation about a civic issue in their community. Each year, Marvelwood's CLP group researches, writes, directs, and produces a documentary. This year's film, The Magic of the Atom, placed second in the Civic Life Youth Film Challenge.
Community service in an important part of the culture at Marvelwood, and one of our four core values. Community Service Wednesdays is Marvelwood's weekly program, for which all students work at on- and off-campus placements, including campus recycling, local Head Start programs, Animal Welfare of New Milford, and the Kent Volunteer Fire Department. Small group sizes at the year-long placements give students the opportunity to assume responsibilities as their skills develop.
Each spring, the Princess Tea Party brings local children to campus to meet their favorite princesses and special characters, have their picture taken with them, and enjoy tea and cupcakes. Marvelwood students go though training to be 'in character', and work hard to create a truly special and magical event. To date, Marvelwood has donated over $5000 to the Make A Wish Foundation.
Marvelwood participates annually in two Model United Nations Conferences: University of Connecticut Model United Nations and Yale Model United Nations. In preparation, history students research assigned countries and write position papers on international topics. Student delegates to the conferences participate on committees and speak on topics ranging from global warming, terrorism, and women’s rights to drones and governmental corruption.
The Peer Mediation and Conflict Resolution program trains selected students and prefects to handle minor disputes between members of the School community. The program's goals are to teach students effective communication skills and to provide them a place to work out their problems in the absence of a faculty member. Peer Mediators are nominated by the faculty. After a formal training program, Peer Mediators meet weekly throughout the year.
Prefects are students who have earned the trust and respect of their peers and the faculty. They are selected by the faculty following an interview process in the spring, and are trained to aid in the running of the dorm, supervising study halls, overseeing dorm jobs, mediating disputes, and settling the dorm for the night. The most important role of the prefect is that of a peer counselor; someone who knows the School well and can offer helpful guidance to students. Prefects also act as a liaison between students and their dorm parents as well as serve as counsel in certain disciplinary situations.
In addition to the dorm prefects, Marvelwood selects and trains prefects to assist in the dining hall, the snack bar and the student mailroom. Activities prefects work closely with the student government and the weekend staff to identify and arrange fun and interesting activities on and off campus.
Each September before classes begin, all members of the senior class participate in a three-day Senior Leadership Orientation, including camping and team-building exercises on high- and low-ropes challenge courses.
In the spring, the Senior Service Trip provides a culminating experience for the School’s soon-to-be graduates. The trip to Washington, D.C., offers seniors tangible proof of their potential to make a difference in the lives of others. Placements differ each year and have included D.C. Central Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, and Charlie’s Place.
The Student Government at Marvelwood acts as an organizational body for student activities. One of the functions of the Student Government is to promote school and class unity by planning special events, fund-raisers and weekend activities. The Student Government also promotes the welfare and morale of the community at large by exercising positive peer leadership.
Officers and representatives for the rising sophomore, junior and senior classes are chosen by vote in the fall. The Senior Class President and Vice President serve as Student Body President and Vice President. The freshman class also conducts its election in the fall. The student government has regular bi-weekly meetings; all are welcome to attend.
Jack Harding '17, President
Chris Lane '17, Vice President
Jon Matson '17, Senior Class Representative