When the girls of The Linden School—an all-girls school in Toronto, Ontario—come to co-principal Dawn Chan with a new idea for a project, club or activity and the drive to create it on their own, that is the best part of her day. Luckily, it happens almost daily.
At The Linden School, leadership is not relegated to senior students or the chosen few—there are no prefects, nor is there a student government. Instead all students, from Grade 1 to Grade 12, are encouraged to take on projects on behalf of the school community.
"Leadership is up for anyone willing to take on a risk and be passionate," Chan says.
Eight years ago, a Grade 5 student was intrigued by a class discussion about the unequal rights of women around the world, so she rallied students from other grades and started EdGE (Education for Girls Everywhere), which has since provided a computer lab for girls in Afghanistan and uniforms for schoolgirls in Africa.
"I like not being a follower," says Raha Mahmoudi who is entering her final year at Linden. "As a person, I'm stronger, and I'm able to take the initiative and pursue my interests outside of school."