Forming Young Leaders

Note: Transcription of the Youtube video: How can we form young leaders? Introducing the Leadership Development Program of the Senior High School of Ateneo de Davao University. It synthesizes all aspects of formation in just one course.

Have you ever been invited by a friend to go on a trip with them? Will you go if you ask: Where are we going? And your friend answers: Anywhere! What are we going to bring? And he answers, “Whatever!” And finally, you ask, “how are we going to get there?” And he answers back: Let’s just see where our drive will take us? Will you go? If you ask me: Of course, not. I’d rather plan a solo adventure, rather than having someone who is directionless.

I remember the first time I went on a solo adventure in 2015. I decided to explore the island of Siquijor because it was shrouded with myths, mountains and magnificent white sand beaches. I’ve always lived curious. Since I would be alone, I had to answer three basic questions: Where would I go in three days? What would I bring? And how am I to get there? Clarifying these questions made the trip pleasant and perfect for a first-timer.

I guess this is an approximation when you enrolled to the Ateneo de Davao Senior High School. Somehow you are motivated by a compelling reason to be here, like the Ateneo brand, the prospect of being with your friends or having new friends, or for others, a good stepping stone towards a better preparation for the college of your dreams.

Direction, Meaning, Purpose.

In life, three things are important: Direction, meaning and purpose. In school, we call it the Ateneo way. We have a clear vision and purpose; we can help your life acquire relevance and meaning; and we have a set of values on which you can ground your life on. We have a manner of proceeding or of doing things, a Jesuit culture that many generations have proven helpful. We will not dictate your personal dreams, but we hope that our dreams for Mindanao, for our country, for the global community converge with yours.

The Leadership Development Program

And talking about converging all of one’s experiences in school, we need a program that puts everything together. That’s the Leadership Development Program. By its very name, we are clear about what we want to do: to develop you to become leaders in the future, not necessarily occupying a position of authority, but having the skills or competence to transform your life and other people’s lives.

Daniel Goleman is a co-chair of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence, and whose article, “What makes a leader,” was chosen by the Harvard Business Review as its one of the 10 must-read articles on leadership. He said that what distinguishes great leaders from merely good ones isn’t IQ or technical skills but EQ or emotional intelligence: a group of five skills that enable the best leaders to maximize their own and the performance of everyone around them.  The LDP follows courses along the five skills: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills in Grade 11, and then will move into learning practical leaderships skills to be able to choose and implement an advocacy of your own in Grade 12. We would like you to become the voice of the voiceless. Mind you, we can do it online; and with your cooperation, in the confines of your homes.

The Six Core Values

Together with other programs in student formation, like the Wellness and Testing Office, Campus Ministry, Social Formation, and the various Student Activities, we hope that we will be able to mold you into the ideal graduate of the Ateneo. Not the ones you hear about in social media. But the real deal– Ateneans characterized by our core values: Ateneans who are competent, having the excellent skills in whatever service God calls them in the future; compassionate, having the heart for others especially the marginalized, and with it, someone who is culturally-sensitive, who respects differences in all aspects; and with a strong faith or fortes-in-fide, Ateneans make Christ or Allah the center of their lives. Furthermore, with a correct conscience the Atenean pursues what is right, in committed service particularly to Mindanao.


To summarize, the Leadership Development Program integrates, renews and deepens all of your experiences of the 4 aspects of formation, namely, your human, spiritual, social and transformative leadership development, so that using everything you learned, you will be able to become inspiring  and productive leaders that would bring about changes in society.


We are each born with certain levels of leadership skills, like seeds that need to be nurtured. And we can strengthen these abilities through persistence, practice, and guidance from your mentors, like your class advisers, teachers, counselors, spiritual companions, and yes, your peers. This is therefore our hope, that at the end of day, it would be you, who will take personal responsibility for your own growth. If you have dreams for Mindanao, for our country or for the global community, and not just your own, you are in the school that is fit for you. God begins from where you are.

Published by Jboy Gonzales SJ

TV host: ABSCBN's Kape't Pandasal. Environment. Culture. Music. Photography. Leadership. Edgy. Eccentric. Jesuit.

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