Performance Club
(submitted by Virginia Russolo to meet the requirements of Leadership)

1. Learning Targets
During the first year of the Performance group, created in 2011, my role as a member turned into one of a leader. In this club we met every Friday afternoon to practice our musical skills, give each other feedback and prepare for upcoming performances, sometimes related to charity causes. The goals of the activity are to improve performing in front of a live audience, practicing communication between players, mastering our music skills and practice receiving feedback. To perform more often in front of a live audience I initiated the ‘Performance Tuesday’ activity that consists of weekly live performances in the cafeteria during lunch and looked after its launch and development.

2. Description of the Learning Experience
Firstly I talked to Tim Jungnitsch, the group creator, about the idea and got his and Mr. Snowball’s approval. Secondly, I communicated it to the group members. I sent out an email, posted it on the group’s facebook page and brought it up during the meeting. Tim looked after the technicalities with our supervisor Mr. Johnston and set up the system in the cafeteria while I created a sign-up table and arranged the times. Then we launched the activity with two performances, one by me and one by Tim. It turned out to be very successful and we further integrated the activity in the group. As an established leader in the first months of this school year I, together with the other two leaders got permissions to start the activity again. This was a positive experience that pushed me to show leadership, pushing me outside of my comfort zone, and one that made come in contact with the difficulties of managing a music event.

Email I sent out to the group members:

Sign-up document I created:

Sending notices to the school’s bulletin:

Video of Roof-Top Concert:

3. Learning Outcomes
Awareness of Strengths and Areas for Growth
I became more aware of my strength as a performer and became a better leader.

Undertaking New Challenges
As a junior I was intimidated about putting forward the idea but I overcame this fear and started it anyways.

Planned and Initiated Activities
I created and initiated the activity with the goal of performing in front of a live audience more often. I incited the members and the group creator and leader Tim.

Worked Collaboratively With Others
All of my performances are with other musicians therefore we know that communication among musicians is fundamental for the success of the performance. I also had to work with Tim, members and staff to make the activity happen.

Showing Perseverance and Commitment
It was a little bit hard getting the members enthusiastic about the activity, some of them feared performing in front of the student body. However by giving the example first some members wanted to put themselves out there as well. The activity needed a lot of commitment not only during the initiation, but also preparing songs to perform.

Developing New Skills
I am more confident in engaging people to listen to my ideas and I also learned how to work the sound system in the cafeteria. I learned some of the difficulties of organizing a music event.

4. Inquiry
If I were to do it again I would try to invite musicians from outside the group to join as well. Also if the activity were to gain more popularity I would hold auditions to increase its quality. This activity made me more curious about the overall organization behind performances. As a performer, I am now more aware and grateful for it.

Chair of Model United Nations
(submitted by Young Jin Seo to meet the requirements of Leadership)

I have been involved with Model United Nations since grade 9. At first, it was difficult getting used to the formality and language. All the different type of speeches that we had to make for the debate seemed so confusing and impossible to understand.

However, after three years of perseverance, I am now the Chair of MUN at YIS. I am responsible for chairing the debates and also leading the group so that they are fully prepared for the upcoming conferences. I also come up with materials to debate at the upcoming meetings and try to explain current affairs in plain simple English for the new comers.

To have a resource where the students can go to, I created a website that explains the different type of speeches, how and what a resolution is, and just summary of what is happening at meetings.


Although the meeting is only 30 minutes during lunch time, I find myself spending a lot of time and effort into these blogposts and materials to help out the delegates. That is because I feel responsible for helping them prepare for the upcoming conferences (especially because I had such a hard time adjusting myself when I was a new delegate in grade 9).

It is great to see new 9th grade delegates being brave, making speeches and coming up to me asking about debating procedures. I learnt that any leader has to commit and dedicate more effort than anyone else to effectively lead the group into the right direction and that at the end of the day, that is how the delegates will remember you.


Captaining and Coaching Soccer
(submitted by Jack Claar to meet the requirements of Leadership)

In 10th grade, I joined the high school soccer team. I had been playing with the same group of awesome guys since 7th grade, under the stern direction of The Coach. So, when the results of the tryouts came back and I was one of only two of the original MS A team squad who didn’t make varsity, I was a little disappointed, to say the least. I realized that I probably wasn’t as good at soccer as I thought I was. Nonetheless, I was determined to bring my best to the team.

So I was kind of resigned and not expecting it when I was made captain.

Being the leader of a team of 16 players was really great. Having the responsibility of assisting the coach during practices was great. I did the best I could to help the team improve, work hard, and still have fun while we could. The knowledge that the team was relying on me made me work even harder, and I had a lot of fun.

While all of that was great, the absolute best part of that season happened on one fateful and exciting friday night trip to ASIJ. There were a lot of varsity players injured from the last game, and the coach was sick and couldn’t make it. As JV captain, I was given an ultimatum. Either I play with Varsity, or I play with JV. I made the obvious choice, I played with Varsity that night, and the level of competitiveness was nothing like the games I played with JV. I played for the majority of the second half, and I played my hardest, trying to prove myself to the V coach. It must have worked, because even after I cramped both legs at the end of the second half, he made me coach for that night’s JV game. 

I was completely taken by surprise because I had never heard of a student coaching a game before. But I did it anyways, and it was a soccer experience that I’ll remember forever.

Being able to watch a game from the sidelines and try to understand everyone’s dynamic was a completely new learning experience for me, as well as a new way of experiencing the game. From my new vantage, I feel that I was able to better understand the dynamic of the game as a whole, as well as the playing of each individual. I think that it could have been the most fun I’d ever had watching a soccer game.

And at half time, I got to give the stern and motivational team talk. I let individuals know what to improve on, marked holes in our play as a team, and made sure that they kept working hard throughout the game. I got to talk at them as a captain, their motivational encouragement, as well as the coach, telling them what and what not to do. It was surreal. Too cool.

Unfortunately at the end of the second half, we were losing 2-1, and the coach had told me to make sure everyone got to play. So I had to throw caution to the wind and switch positions like nobodies business. I made the keeper a striker, subbed in the second goalie, put defense in midfield and played 5 back. It was not strategically strong in any way, but I could tell that the change of pace was amusing to everyone, and we all had a great time.

We went down 5-1 that night, but after I received zero backlash from the team, I realized that the score didn’t really matter to them. They took it as a fun experience rather than a loss, and we took the bus ride home as champions.

Here’s the coach’s roster that I was handed before the game. See? I’m going to keep this for a long time.

The whole experience of being a leader within a team has really made me want to do more in instruction and coaching. I wrote about that somewhere on this site… browse on.

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