Reader Contributed Schools

West Hartford Students Participate in Leadership Greater Hartford ‘Common Ground’

From left: David Evans, Olivia Carrabba, Shamarla King, Anders Aavatsmark. Submitted photo

Watkinson students from West Hartford, Manchester, and Hartford have been selected to participate in Leadership Greater Hartford’s program for training high school students in leadership skills.

Submitted by Jenni French, Watkinson School

Leadership Greater Hartford is a nonprofit organization that has been around for 40 years – and their Common Ground program has the goal of training and connecting diverse leaders. It mixes both urban and suburban schools, inviting high school sophomores and juniors from the Hartford area along with surrounding towns to participate in leadership-building skills and activities that helps to develop relationships between the students.

This is Watkinson’s second year participating in the program, and they are the only private school involved in the district. Common Ground consists of community service projects, workshops, team-building activities, and the opportunity to speak with community leaders and other professionals, which encourages students to get more involved. The program meets every week on Tuesdays after school from 4-6:30 p.m., and student transportation is provided.

The four Watkinson students who participate are sophomores Anders Aavatsmark (West Hartford) and David Evans (Manchester), and juniors Shamarla King (Hartford) and Olivia Carrabba (West Hartford).

The students learn about a new topic every week, discussions ranging from financial aid, public speaking, problem solving, and getting to know each other type of activities.

When asked what they like about the program, Anders responded, “I think it can benefit a lot of people in different ways. For me, it helps with public speaking and helps break me out of my shell.”

Shamarla said, “I like the goal that they try to accomplish, specifically getting people of different backgrounds and ethnicities to come together and accomplish the one goal of becoming a leader.”

Watkinson School is Hartford oldest independent school for grades 6-12/PG. Learn more at an upcoming info session for prospective families on either Nov. 30 or Dec. 14 at 9 a.m.

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