NHS Students Launch Inaugural Leadership Discussion Panel
West Roxbury, Mass.-- Members of Catholic Memorial School’s Monsignor Donohue Chapter of the National Honor Society launched its inaugural Leadership Panel Discussion in conjunction with the National Student Leadership Week on Thursday afternoon.
Focusing on the theme “Student Leaders: Taking Charge,” the panel discussion highlighted leadership development within the CM community. Three members of the CM community, Mr. Nicholas Genovese, Mr. John Mazza ’98, and Mr. Mike Slonina ’11, appeared on the panel to discuss their own experiences in leadership positions.
“Good leaders are good leaders because they are always willing to try, even if it is not comfortable or not easy – in fact, usually it’s not,” said Mr. Mazza, the President of Campus Bridge International and a Harvard University graduate.
“But it is a great thing to wake up every day and think about other people.”
The panelists each painted a realistic picture of leadership for their student audience. Together, they described how leadership positions, while appearing glamorous from the outside, often require 18-hour days, difficult decisions, and in the end, total responsibility for the final product.
However, despite the tough workload, they reminded their audience that a leader must serve for others and not for themselves. A true leader puts others ahead of themselves according to the panelists.
“Pope Francis has one of the most powerful positions in the world, but he makes it about everyone but himself; he tries to push the Church forward by modeling what he preaches,” explained theology faculty member Mr. Genovese, a Boston College graduate.
Mr. Slonina, the Founder of a Shot For Life (ASFL), called the hard work he puts into his non-profit a source of fulfillment-- especially when it benefits a cause greater than himself. His non-profit raises money for cancer research while encouraging people to share their passion for basketball.
To accomplish this collective mission in an efficient manner, Mr. Slonina acknowledged that leaders must establish a sense of authority without craving too much power.
“Power is when you have to do what I say,” said Mr. Slonina.
“Authority is when you want to follow me because you respect me.”
At the end of the panel, Vice Principal Mr. Tom Ryan and Principal Mr. Thomas Beatty '68 shared personal stories about each panelist. They both reminded the audience that these men grew into leaders because of their willingness to learn and grow through the times of discomfort.
"When John [Mazza] was at CM, he was on the wrestling team, and the soccer team, and involved in student government," said Mr. Beatty.
"The key thing was he didn’t just wake up one day and become a leader. He started young. I want you all to look at these panelists as role models who you can all measure your growth against."