Taking Risks

Taking Risks

Grace Dean
HCLA Intern, 2016-2017
Noblesville High School Senior

“What you don't do can be a destructive force.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

When I began my internship with Hamilton County Leadership Academy in August, I was oblivious to the understanding I would gain from the unparalleled opportunities the organization offers. Attending class days, meeting with prominent leaders in the community, and learning about nonprofit logistics—each of these experiences has increased my appreciation for the inspiring figures who work towards the betterment of Hamilton County.

The most impactful of my responsibilities is also one that I never expected.

Each member of HCLA’s Class of 2017 will submit a favorite leadership quote throughout the course of this year, and I have been typing out each entry along the way. Reading the thought provoking words of wisdom prompted me to reflect upon my own favorite sentiment of leadership, and I came to a sudden realization: I didn’t have one.

Every morning, I start my day by reading inspirational quotes, so I was unsettled by the fact that I had never thought about the meaning/motivation behind my personal leadership in terms of a quote. As I was scrolling through the internet for daily morning inspiration the next day, I coincidentally came across the above statement from Eleanor Roosevelt. With one glance, I knew it would be my individual quote, just like the ones shared by HCLA class members.

Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize why the quote stood out to me so much in that moment. By serving as class president since my Freshman year, I have become more familiar with the concept that the right choices and the easy choices are not always the same: a lesson sometimes learned by taking risks.

At the beginning of this school year, my Student Body Vice President and I created a new club at Noblesville called the Student Union. The Union’s overall mission is to further the sense of unity and connection within a student body as large as that of Noblesville. The group consists of one representative from every club, sport, and activity at the high school. At monthly meetings, we discuss the accomplishments and new events each group is experiencing and relay such information back to our respective organizations. Furthermore, we reach out into the community by completing service projects in partnership with nonprofits around the county.

In co-creating the Student Union, I have become more mindful of how leadership is simultaneously a service role; the most effective leaders are the ones who commit to giving back and helping others. With this mentality, I have begun to put my position as student body president into the perspective of service. It is my responsibility to serve my peers by representing their voice, serve my school, and serve my hometown to my fullest ability.

Working towards school improvement efforts, planning events in an organized manner, keeping in touch with the student body, communicating with fellow government representatives, and developing relationships in the community are all responsibilities I must maintain and fulfill as a leader in my high school. The problems arise not when I attempt to think outside of the box but when I treat the position as a checklist of tasks. It is what I don’t do that can have the most dangerous results.

I’m thankful for HCLA in a plethora of ways, but especially for leading me to discover my philosophy for leadership. Beyond student government, I am inspired by our class members’ and alumni’s selfless involvement in the community and mindset of making Hamilton County an even better place to live. I look forward to deepening this admiration in the coming semester by attending more class days, deepening my investment with nonprofit operations, and reading more quotes!

Happy Holidays,


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