For the large group of new Derryfield students who join the community each year, it can be hard to imagine oneself in a future leadership role when you are preoccupied with learning a new schedule, making friends, and juggling sports, clubs, and academics. However, these students should not count themselves out as leaders on the basis of not being at Derryfield for their entire school careers. When she entered Derryfield as a freshman, senior Emanne Khan ’19 admits that “I’ve always been pretty quiet and reserved in large groups, and before I came to Derryfield, I often saw this as something that was obstructing my ability to be a leader. Coming from a large middle school, leaders were often the ones who spoke up the most simply because they were the only ones who could be heard.”
However, Emanne’s idea of leadership was altered after being immersed in the Derryfield community. “I have always been someone who cares about and is committed to tasks that need to be done,” she says. “I have always been interested in helping others and seeing projects through to the end.” She credits the “small and collaborative” Derryfield community for allowing her to see her self-described “reserved nature” as a strength rather than a weakness: “I soon realized being quiet and introspective allowed me to actively listen and value each team member’s contributions. This defines my leadership style.”
Now, Emanne dedicates her time to being the Managing Editor of Excerpt Literary Magazine, a Team Manager of PACTeam, and a teacher in the Super Saturday program for Breakthrough Manchester. In addition to these roles in her extracurriculars, she also sees herself as a leader in the classroom through her collaborative work with her peers and her willingness to help others.
Emanne feels that “the process of taking on leadership roles in the DS community was very natural. After joining Excerpt as a sophomore, much of the club’s leadership was graduating that year and I found that I was dedicated to the club’s future. I decided to step into a leadership role, and I naturally felt more confident to seek out leadership in other activities such as Breakthrough and PACTeam.” She also attended the annual Student Leadership Summit in 2016 and participated in the Northern New England Students of Color Conference in 2018. She finds her work with Breakthrough to be the most challenging as it requires her to not only hold the attention of groups of younger students, but to engage them in interactive and educational lessons as well. “The feeling of seeing kids enjoying and learning from a lesson that you and your fellow teachers put together is awesome.”
Emanne encourages other students who are interested in leadership roles within their communities to step up: “If you are dedicated and have a sense of responsibility for the future of your community, then you are exactly the type of person who should be taking on a leadership role.”
Located in Manchester, NH, The Derryfield School is a private day school for grades 6-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.