My Story: Developing as a Leader at EMS

May 8, 2023 / Luke Rogers '23
Luke Rogers '23 and Justin King, high school principal at Jr Sr Banquet 2023
Luke Rogers '23 and Justin King, high school principal at Jr Sr Banquet 2023

Luke Rogers wrote this reflection as part of additional coursework needed to fulfill requirements for Honors English credit in spring 2023.

My academic journey at Eastern Mennonite School began in 2nd grade. Throughout my middle and early high school years, I was filled with a constant flow of ideas and enthusiasm. My eagerness to share these ideas often led to interruptions in class and, consequently, to various conversations in the principal’s office.

Since then, I have been fortunate enough to receive the support and guidance of our faculty and staff, who have helped me to grow and develop significantly. My younger self often spoke with our high school principal, Mr. King, about appropriate times to share my comments and ideas. Mr. King consistently demonstrated empathy during our conversations and encouraged me to channel my energy into appropriate outlets, pushing me to explore the available extracurricular activities at our school.

Years later, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities Eastern Mennonite High School has provided, as well as the unwavering support of faculty and staff that have nurtured my personal growth and development as a leader.

Despite its small size, EMHS excels at providing highly enriching extracurricular experiences for students like me to explore and discover various interests. My leadership journey at Eastern Mennonite began with my involvement in the Student Council Organization (SCO) as the Vice President in my junior year. This experience allowed me to step into the water of leadership, collaboration, and organization. As Vice President in my junior year and President in my senior year, I had the chance to work closely with peers, faculty, and the student body to plan various events, such as hosting the first semi-formal in over a decade and reviving the high school lock-in after its pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That same year, I was given the opportunity to become Editor-in-Chief of the Windsock, our school’s student newspaper. Initially, the newspaper consisted of only four writers. However, I saw the potential and recruited co-editor-in-chief Naomi Diener, and together, we developed plans and growth strategies. Consequently, Windsock now boasts a team of over 17 staff writers and a digital platform. This experience taught me the value of perseverance and organization, and I am highly grateful to attend a school that encourages students to drive change, as Naomi and I were able to do with the Windsock.

While at Eastern Mennonite, I was also able to found several clubs to pursue my goals and interests, such as the middle school Baseball Club, which I started during my junior year. This club allowed me to help younger students develop athletic skills and a passion for baseball. My initial aim was to establish a sustainable baseball program beyond my classes’ graduation, but along the way, I was blessed to form meaningful friendships and memories with several younger students. In addition, I co-founded the Business, Economics, and Investing Club with my friend Steve Kim. Steve and I shared an interest in economics and the stock market and wanted to share this interest with other students through the club.

Through these experiences, I learned the importance of taking the initiative, pursuing my passions, and making an impact by giving back to the community. These examples shine a light on Eastern Mennonite’s commitment to their students, empowering them and allowing them to address unmet interests by establishing new clubs that can ultimately benefit many others.

As I reflect on my time at Eastern Mennonite, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities I have had and the unwavering support and guidance I’ve received from faculty and staff along the way. The EMHS community has pushed me to grow as a person of character and as a leader.

As I begin my next chapter at Wake Forest University, I am eager to take on new leadership roles and connect with my new community. Eastern Mennonite has shown me that anyone can make a difference; all it takes is an idea and the determination to see it through. As I move forward, I plan to use the lessons I learned at EMS to support, encourage, and grow with those around me.

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