Despite the importance of adolescent leadership development, little research has critically examined how to improve school-based leadership programs. The intention of this research was to explore how one Catholic secondary school developed leadership potential in adolescents, and how such efforts could be improved in the future. Perspectives of elected student leaders from Years 10 - 12 were examined using a longitudinal case study. The primary methods for collecting data included qualitative interviewing, field notes, journalling and document analysis. Based upon the collected data, the researcher inductively conceptualised strengths and shortcomings of the leadership program proffered by the student participants. According to the student leaders, key strengths of the program included having many leadership opportunities available, many elected leaders participating in the program, and working with other student leaders. The most commonly reported shortcomings encompassed certain student leaders abrogating responsibilities, an apparent non- involvement of younger leaders, and the perceived influence of a ‘popularity vote’ on leadership elections. The findings in this article are a singular presentation of one specific research question within a completed research project. Where previous published work (Hine, 2013) addressed the lived experiences of student leaders, this article examines what student leaders perceived to be the benefits and shortcomings of a school leadership program.


longitudinal case study, school leadership program, leadership development, adolescent leaders, young leaders

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