What is the Servite Priory Leadership Program?
The Servite Priory Leadership Program is a comprehensive, hands-on leadership experience intended to give students the opportunity to learn and practice leadership through peer accountability and increased responsibility in all components of the student experience.
What are the purposes of the Priory Leadership Program?
The fundamental weakness of most student leadership development programs is their lack of opportunity for real leadership experience. Real leadership only exists when there is a significant level of tangible responsibility and direct accountability for other people. With that in mind, there are four fundamental purposes of the Priory Leadership Program:
- increased responsibility
- peer accountability
- critical understanding of leadership theory
- hands-on leadership experience
By giving students significant responsibility in the operation of the school and direct accountability for their peers, students will gain the real experience that is required to successfully develop as the kind of leaders prepared to make a difference in their schools, business, families, communities, and beyond.
How does the Priory Leadership Program work?
There are two primary components of the Priory Leadership Program. First, the entire student body is divided into eight Priories (a Servite word for a community) of 110-120 students each, freshmen through seniors. Each Priory is named after one of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order with the addition of “Philip,” one of the primary saints of the Servite Order:
- Bonajuncta (pronounced “bōnăyūnctă”)
- Sostene (pronounced “sŏstĭnay”)
Each Priory is led by a senior Prior and six senior or junior Assistant Priors. The Prior and his Assistant Priors are expected not only to lead their Priory through a variety of activities and competitions with the other Priories, but also to uphold and enforce standards regarding moral discipline, academic performance, and leadership. Each Priory is further divided into six Homerooms of approximately 18 students each, freshmen through seniors. Each Homeroom is led by one of the Priory’s six Assistant Priors. Under the direction of the Prior, the Assistant Priors not only plan but implement their Priory’s goals and objectives within their Homerooms. While the work of the Priors and Assistant Priors is continuous, the primary means of implementation of Priory activities is through the Priory Period which occurs twice a week. Each Priory Period is 43 minutes in length and, while faculty Proctors are present within each Homeroom for the purpose of guidance and supervision, the plan and its implementation for each period is left entirely in the hands of the Prior and his Assistant Priors.
The second primary component of the Priory Leadership Program is the Priory Committees. Each Priory selects representatives to serve as Committee Members on each of six Priory Committees:
- Academics Committee
- Activities Committee
- Athletics Committee
- Campus Ministry Committee
- Media and Technology Committee
- Spirit Committee
- PAL (Peer Assistance Leadership) Committee
While the Priors and Assistant Priors focus on programs and activities for their individual Priories, the Priory Committees are charged with the planning and implementation of school-wide programs and activities within their respective areas of focus. These may include inter-Priory competitions or activities (i.e. an inter-Priory Trivia Bowl) or school-wide programs that do not explicitly involve the Priories as such (i.e. Homecoming). Each Committee selects a Committee Chairman who is charged with the primary management and oversight of each Committee.
The management of the entire Priory System is overseen by the Prior General and the other members of the Generalate – the Vicar General, Secretary General, and Treasurer General. To this end, the Generalate, in consultation with the Principal and Priory Director, determines the directives for the Priories and Priory Committees each year. Furthermore, the Generalate is seen by the Administration as the primary representatives of the student body and, as such, is often consulted on a variety of school matters large and small.
How is the Priory Leadership Program different from the traditional ASB model of student leadership?
The traditional ASB model is typically activity-based, wherein student leaders execute tasks related to the implementation of campus programs that are in large part pre-packaged (insofar as most are annual events – school dances, pep rallies, fundraisers, etc.). Beyond a set list of activities, student leaders have limited responsibility for campus life and, similarly, have very little accountability for the behavior of their peers. The Servite Priory Leadership Program gives student leaders much greater responsibility for the operation of the school and makes all students accountable to each other for their performance in all areas of campus life.
By the end of the freshman year, our freshmen will have:
- Been explicitly and virtually, exposed to the philosophy, psychology, traditions, and mission of Servite High School and been drilled in living and executing their responsibilities according to these principles.
- Come to know, appreciate, live, and grow according to the life and commands of Christ, as seen through the prism of the Servite Order and its high school.
- Developed a healthy knowledge and appreciation for self, taking stock of personal weakness and strengths and how to faithfully address both, all the while trying to ascertain their vocation from God.
- Begun to perfect the intellectual life according to the Servite presentation, via a demanding, fundamental curriculum and successfully assimilate the body of knowledge.
- Learned to more exactly discipline the will towards the good, being guided by the light of faith and reason.
- Recognized their personal limits and therefore the limits of their neighbors, and consequently see the need for and benefit of enhancing their person and those around them through teamwork.
- Engaged in developing and participating in multiple endeavors wherein they recognize the value of teamwork.
- Laid the appropriate foundation for the rigor and demands of the subsequent years by completing the aforementioned in a timely, efficacious manner, and as directed.