Dunham’s Institute of Leadership is a formal, curriculum-driven leadership program designed to train, empower, and send student leaders out into the world to serve and train others. Principles of leadership are taught and discussed through teaching sessions and mentor meetings and put into practice through group and individual service projects. Through the Institute’s Professional Experience Program, students explore possible career options and connect with professionals in variety of fields.
Following a rigorous interview process with faculty and administrators, eight rising seniors are selected to serve as Upper School Prefects based on their academic records, demonstrated leadership, service, character, integrity, and spirituality. Each prefect has a committee composed of other students who work with him or her in a specific area of service to the school. With a faculty member serving as an advisor, the prefect assumes full responsibility for and leadership of the committee.
Students develop decision-making skills, build confidence, and gain experience in group dynamics through the Middle School House System. Each student is assigned to a house named in honor of the school founders—Tabb, Koch, Love, and Michaelson. Eighth grade students serve as House Captains who lead the house along with six committee chairs. Through various activities and academic achievements, Houses compete throughout the year to win the Founders House Cup.
Lower School students develop servant leadership skills through opportunities, formal and informal, to serve others. Fourth graders have opportunities to serve as Sunshine Helpers responsible for guiding PreK and kindergarten students to their classrooms from the morning carpool line. Chapel Helpers are also fourth grade students who mentor younger students by walking younger students to chapel, modeling appropriate behavior, and leading them in worship.
Through Friends of the MAC (FOMAC), Middle and Upper School students have opportunities to become peer mentors to classmates in the McKay Academic Center who face social challenges. Through regular interaction and communication, mentors intentionally draw MAC students into school life. By becoming an advocate, and, most importantly, a friend, these mentors model acceptance and inclusion to the rest of the student body.