Empowering Leadership in Teens: The Hun School in Princeton Does it Differently

They say some people are born leaders, but like most talents and abilities, leadership is something that also requires practice and training. At the Hun School in Princeton, the administration puts forth great effort to create real world leaders.

I spoke with Headmaster Jon Brougham of The Hun School of Princeton about the innovative model of his school. He is a great advocate for leadership from a young age. As headmaster of the Hun School of Princeton for the past eight years, he prides himself on empowering his students to become leaders. In fact, they are so full of leaders, they have one of the largest student governments I have ever heard of, comprised of 52 students. This just goes to show how they are training a generation of leaders right in their diverse school.

Class Of University Students Using Laptops In Lecture

Teachers and administrators guide their students but ultimately let them make their own decisions, even if they do not necessarily agree with them. That is how students learn. Headmaster Brougham stated that there is no fear of failing, because there is less judgement. For example, if someone goes into an entrepreneurial venture that is unsuccessful, they will not be shunned for it, but embraced for the effort and stronger for trying. This is why many of their students are now entrepreneurs. They lack a fear of failure, and with that, you can go on to do anything. This is why they actually have entrepreneurial projects that students take part in and build on with one another year after year. Many of their projects go on to be something much greater than just a plan. They can be social, industrial, cultural, or even technological innovations. This is why so many students go on to be successful entrepreneurs. Herwig Konings, for example, a graduate of the class of 2011 just topped off Forbes ‘Brightest College Entrepreneurs List,’ for his tech startup ‘Royal.’

I tend to find that leadership and technology go hand-in-hand, and the Hun School is no exception to this. Each student is outfitted with an iPad and encouraged to think proactively. Additionally, there are a number of interactive experiences for them where they can do a lesson or workshop entirely by the means of digital technologies. They understand that leadership breeds innovation.

When asked what he thought was the biggest challenge for his students, Headmaster Brougham replied, “choices.” This is because in a world with infinite possibilities, it can be quite a quest for a student to figure out exactly who they are and what they are doing. The dichotomy of choice states that being presented with more choices can often lead to a big headache. If you go to a high-end restaurant in NYC, you will notice fewer menu options for this reason.

It is refreshing to see the Hun School as a pioneer in the entrepreneurial movement, and this is evidence as to why these students go on to do such incredible things. The Hun School really motivates the students and drives them to make their own decisions in the exact way that they will post graduation. Other schools should take note, because when you want your students to be leaders, you have to treat them as such.


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