For the past three years, future educators at LEAF Academy have been teaching at African Leadership Academy (ALA) – the most prestigious leadership-focused high school on the African continent. Matúš Kurian in 2013/2014, Peter Reťkovský in 2014/2015, and now Jaromír Sedlár in 2015/2016 have each spent an entire year interacting with the next generation of African leaders who come from more than 40 countries. Each of the LEAF Academy educators worked to contribute to the academic, residential and social life of the Academy. Their work in Physics, Entrepreneurial Leadership and Residential Life was both transformative and life-changing.
One of the most impressive elements of working and studying at ALA is its residential program. Sharing common spaces with people with different nationalities, cultures, religions, languages and life stories provides a wonderful and unique opportunity to understand the world beyond one´s own horizons. It creates a space to listen, share, understand and learn to accept our individual differences, while enjoying each other´s presence. This shared experience allows students, staff and faculty to grow together, support each other, form life-long friendships, as well as to mentor, and be mentored.
One of the ALA students remarked: “People from my hall have turned into my family. We share the good, the bad, solve issues together, and help each other with studying. We have bonded beyond what I thought was possible. I remember one day, we printed out all our pictures from various events, and decorated the entire corridor until there was barely any blank space left… and then we cooked dinner together. We simply created our own home. Once I leave the school, this will be what I´ll miss the most.”
It is fascinating to watch young people transform into resilient, empathetic, mature, and well-rounded individuals. The residential experience shows how this process is facilitated in the informal spaces after classes are over: in the corridors, dorm rooms, during common activities, over the weekend, or just while chatting with one´s peers or teachers over a meal.
At LEAF Academy, the boarding school for future leadership, we are excited to be opening our residences to all of our 2-year and 4-year students and are looking forward to the amazing shared experience, growth, community, and culture we will build together.
Author: Peter Reťkovský
Head of Residential Life and Entrepreneurial Leadership Department