Leading by Example

Natalie Howlette ’22 knows firsthand that being President of Student Council is a leadership position which brings a lot of responsibility, and she does not take this responsibility lightly. “When I started my term, I realized that I had to slightly modify my behavior to ensure that I “behave” appropriately. I do not post on social media as much, which can be hard as I am still a teenager, but it is important that I model exemplary behavior given my visibility on campus,” said Natalie. “Past presidents were not always as visible, but everyone knows me on campus therefore, it is important that my actions are above reproach.”

Student Council members act as ambassadors between the student community and the George School faculty and staff. Members include day and boarding representatives from each class who are elected by their class peers. Officers are then elected by Student Council members. “I was elected in my sophomore year and selected to manage events such as the clothing drive and the faculty/student basketball game. I also served as the social media officer before becoming President,” said Natalie.

“Student Council meets once a week with our faculty sponsor, Gracie Coscia-Collins ’09 (Dance, PE, East Main Dorm Head, Co-op Coordinator), to discuss student and campus concerns, consider new policies, advocate for student ideas, provide oversight to student clubs, nominate students to serve on various school committees, and organize Student Council Weekend, which is the best weekend on campus! We recently got toasters back in the Dining Hall and were responsible for providing free tampons in each bathroom.”

“This year, we have an amazing group of students on Student Council who are all eager to volunteer, making it difficult to select just one person to lead an initiative,” continued Natalie. “As President, I have learned that you need to hand the reins over to others to ensure that the organization will be in good hands when you leave. Part of my role is to give each person the opportunity to grow and dip their toes into a variety of activities. This can be challenging when you have opinions on how things should be done, but empowering others is a necessary part of being a leader.”

One of the things Natalie loves about Student Council is that it keeps her connected to the freshman and sophomore classes. “As seniors, we would not typically cross paths with the freshmen and sophomores. I enjoy seeing new friendships develop within the Council,” said Natalie. “I also love running meetings and the sense of accomplishment when our agendas are achieved. Working with Gracie is amazing. We have a very close relationship as we are both new this year and learning things together.”

“One of the things I have learned at George School is the importance of strong relationships between students and adults across campus. This year, that is particularly important as we are rebuilding the community after COVID-19. The Class of 2022 is the only class that experienced a full year of ‘normal’ school prior to the pandemic. It is our responsibility to help the other classes learn the traditions of George School, including how to play Four Square.”

Natalie is also a prefect in Westwood Dorm, manages the cheerleading team, serves as a communications co-op, and is a student leader in UMOJA (an affinity group for descendants of Africa and the African diaspora), the Bowling Club and The Salted Tree, George School’s first podcast club. Previously, she served on the Student Activities Board, was an Admission tour guide, and managed the girls’ soccer team.

“During sophomore year, my prefect was Eden Jones ’20 and she is the reason I wanted to become a prefect. Eden was always there for me. I wanted to be available to younger girls like she was for me. Coming from Georgia, I had to deal with living away from home and not being able to visit my family until school breaks,” said Natalie. “Being at George School changes you; it makes you independent and supports you as you grow but does not tell you how you should grow. I attended a very strict middle school and did not want that experience for high school. During my interview with George School, I could tell the school was different from the other boarding schools I was considering. The sense of community and freedom for students to express themselves stood out and I immediately knew George School was the place for me.”

Communications is an area of interest that Natalie would like to continue exploring. “In my junior year, I created a campaign to celebrate Black History Month on George School’s Instagram account. During the month of February, we highlighted a different Black leader each day,” explained Natalie. “The goal was to teach the community about Black leaders who are not as well known. This experience taught me a lot about communications.”

Natalie is currently making a short documentary about girls cheerleading because she feels the sport is not appreciated the way other sports are. She is also part of the inaugural Audio Production Class and is greatly enjoying learning about music production. “The class feels like the Breakfast Club—we are all very different but work well together,” said Natalie. “It is a very hands-on class, and our recent assignment was to produce a song comprising of 2-5 different instruments. My partner, Andrew Miller ’22, and I spent hours outside of class incorporating eight different instruments and making sure our song sounded good. We love the creativity this class provides.”

When asked to reflect on her four years at George School and what her advice would be to new or current students, Natalie said, “Let George School absorb you, lean into everything George School provides and take part. This is a unique environment so do not judge and stand apart. Have fun and enjoy it. You are never going to experience a place like George School again.”