On being a Legacy Girl

Delivered at the Legacy Girls’ College (LGC) 2nd Speech & Prize Giving and Graduation Day Ceremony

You have asked me to speak this morning about what it takes to “Educate The 21st Century Leader Or Change Maker.”

But I have a question for you…“What is the 21st Century Leader or Change Maker like?”

Are they a man…are they a woman…are they black…maybe their Asian…I’d like us to take a moment to think about that leader…

Now, if part of your thinking includes an image of what the 21st century leader or change maker looks like, then today I’d like to challenge you into believing that the 21st century leader is not defined by physical attributes…

They are neither male nor female…they are not black or white…they are not handicapped or able bodied…

They are a mindset!

And that is what I want talk to you about this morning…your mindset!

When I was a kid, and when your parents, and teachers and all the adults here were kids, the objective of school was to do well all your subjects…you know, get A’s and B’s and make it to the next class.  

The concept of being a global leader or a change maker was something that was left to grownups.

And so we all figured that one day we also would grow up and then we’d start thinking about what we needed to do to become leaders and change makers.

But…we went to school way back in the 20th century…

Today, we are in the 21st Century and school is no longer about making it to the next class…that’s a given.  

School is now about training you to far transcend the next class and catapult you into the presidency.  

To launch you into being the Secretary General of the United Nations.

To establish you as the next Bill Gates.

And to do that your school needs to expose you far more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

And so again I ask, “What is the 21st Century Leader or Change Maker like?”

The 21st Century Leader is a visionary.

They want the world to be a better place….they want to make a difference.  

And so today the 21st century leader is a 15 year old child who is member of Model United Nations Club so that right now…not when you grow up…you can start thinking about the interests of the world’s peoples, in particular the poor and vulnerable….

The 21st Century Leader is emotionally intelligent.

When we were kids the cool thing was to have a high IQ…Intelligence Quotient.  And so all of us took numerous tests to show how intelligent we were…and that was what defined who became leaders amongst us.  

But when all these intelligent leaders got together and created global warming, financial crises, corruption, wars and famine…and most surprisingly an education crisis…we suddenly realized that what we really need is not just intelligent people…but people who lead from the heart…people who in addition to vision have a passion for what they do.

Leaders who care about other people.  

Leaders who care about how their pursuit for wealth and industrialization is affecting the rest of the world.

And that is what your Clean and Green Club seeks to do for you. To ensure that when you run the world, your children and our grandchildren will not inherit a world where the weather in unpredictable and temperatures sour and plummet to levels that can barely sustain human life.

In 10 to 15 years’ time, when you are in your 20’s and 30’s your participation in this county’s National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), will ensure that through you, the Ghanaian will not just know about the constitution but will imbibe the principles and objectives of our laws and manifest them in their everyday lives.

The 21st Century Leader is creative and innovative.

They see opportunities and possibilities in everything…and so while the rest of us are throwing away our plastic bottles and hoping that the earth will somehow dissolve them.  

The change makers in Nigeria, and India are taking those same bottles…filling them with sand and using them as bricks to provide affordable housing for the poor. Each house utilizes close to 10,000 plastic bottles…

Imagine the impact your invention can have…

That is what your Creative Art Club allows you to do…It affords you a safe place to express all the brilliant ideas that are swimming around in your heads.  

Your School Choir & Band, is honing that musical talent hidden in you… that beautiful voice that you feel shy of…stop hiding it…the world could use another Whitney Houston

And your Entrepreneurship Club will teach you how to commercialize those ideas and that talent.

It will teach you to create first of all a job for yourself and then jobs for other people.  

Let it never be said that someone who has passed through the halls of this fine institution is a member of the Unemployed Graduates Association….

The 21st Century Leader welcomes and values diversity.

They value differences in other people…they empathize and adjust their communication style in order to facilitate collaboration across cultures and generations.  

That is why you have a Sign Language Club

Because when you are president of this country you will not be president over the able bodied only…those who can hear and speak.  You will also be president of the deaf the dumb, president of those who cannot climb stairs. In the absence of a mindset that incorporates them…how will you rule them?

The 21st Century Leader is connected with the world.

They are fluent with digital and social media…now let me pause here…I’m not making an argument for you to stay on Facebook forever…don’t go and tell your parents that the speaker said, “WhatsApp will make me a 21st Century leader.”

What I’m saying is that clubs like your Media & Photography Club, and your Writing/Drama Club enable you to develop agile and flexible partnerships with others utilizing social media.  

Social media is a tool you must leverage…it not a place for you to watch useless videos and have pointless conversation.  Social Media allows you share your ideas and express your viewpoints…as an equal participating member at the table of leaders.

Your parents had to write to pen pals in foreign countries and wait for months for one response.  

Today in just seconds you can make and keep in touch with friends from across all the continents in the world.  

Today you can read every single countries headline news just by pressing a few buttons on your iPad

Today you can expand your horizon by interacting with different viewpoints on WhatsApp.

And so again I ask, “What is the 21st Century Leader or Change Maker like?”

The 21st Century Leader is someone who has a 21st Century Mindset!

And that is the charge that I leave you with today…that you must have a growth mindset…a willingness to learn new things…no matter how strange they seem.  

You must approach life with a positive attitude…one that is solution-oriented, and proactive…when you see a problem…rectify it…think outside the box…never settle for someone telling you that, “this is how we’ve always done it”

Your STEM & Coding Club has taught you to use data analysis to make informed decision…Do so!

Today is a proud day for all of you…

Especially for those of you who will walk across this stage as your final lap in this institution…to you I say Ayekoo!

And I ask you to make a pledge as you receive your certificate…a pledge to always stretch beyond your comfort zone… a pledge to always seek constant improvement…not only for yourselves, but also for the organizations that you will lead.

I wish you all the best…

I thank you all for your attention…

God bless you…

3 thoughts on “On being a Legacy Girl

  1. These are the things I wish I was taught when I was at that age. What a difference it makes. It is rime to make sure the next generation start on solid ground and a clear vision and on the e right trajectory.

    Liked by 1 person

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