Shaping Future Leaders: Shaun Derik Holds Workshop at OP

Shaun Derik

Shaun Derik

James Kim, Staff Writer

This past Wednesday, many students at Oratory had the privilege of learning from Shaun Derik, a motivational speaker who encourages people across the nation to pursue their goals and establish a healthy lifestyle. Throughout the day, many individuals participated in workshops where Shaun emphasized the aspects of being a good leader. By the end of the session, the boys were aware of what to strive for in order to not only succeed in their respective leadership roles at Oratory but in positions following high school as well.


Mr. Derik, a friendly, experienced speaker, started things off with an icebreaker by having everyone introduce themselves and state a superpower they would like to have. After everyone spoke and proclaimed the fantasies of flying, time-traveling, and having super-strength, Shaun began a conversation about leadership and how great leaders can be described. He extended the question by not only asking about their qualities but their physical attributes and actions as well. Some words that the students exclaimed were, “friendly,” “cooperative,” “responsible,” “bold,” “communicating well,” and many others. Shaun then asked the group to describe a bad leader, which they then listed as being, “lazy,” “condescending,” “apathetic,” “inappropriate,” and more. Shaun, who was impressed with the list that the students developed, successfully enabled the boys to contrast both sides of the spectrum and become fully aware of what a good leader truly looks like.


Shaun then explained an activity that the students were going to partake in: with each of the 4 corners of the room representing “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree,” the individuals were to choose a side after hearing a statement. The very first question was “social media is a necessary part of my life.” The boys separated into their respective corners and spoke to those who shared the same viewpoint. Shaun then had all of the sides explain their perspective and opinion on the matter. Some stated that social media was an essential part of their lives in order to stay up to date on current events and news, while others said that platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook were a waste of time and simply not necessary for them to get through the day. Shaun then made another statement: “college is essential for success in life.” Once again, the group split into the corners which represented their opinion and they spoke with those sharing the same ideals. Some found a college degree, especially in today’s society, to be an integral part of success, while others attributed success to hard-work and skills rather than attendance at a university. Furthermore, after everyone sat in their desks, Shaun then drew various shapes and figures on the whiteboard, asking everyone to describe what they thought they saw. Some saw a building, some saw a box, others even saw a toilet. Regardless of what Mr. Derik drew, various people had various thought on what it represented. The purpose of these activities was to emphasize a major component of being a great leader: listening. He explained how disagreements always lead to arguments and how a leader is responsible for not ignoring those they disagree with, but instead listening to those opponents and getting to understand them. He stated that everyone, as shown by the activities, has different viewpoints, but a great leader will be open-minded and take time and effort to see what the opposing side has to say.


Shaun then ended the session by writing the acronym VOICE on the whiteboard, representing the elements of a great leader. V stood for value, as leaders need to prioritize what is important and necessary. O stood for order, as organization is an essential part of being productive and responsible. I stood for imagination, emphasizing the importance of being open-minded to different ideas and viewpoints. C stood for choice, as those in charge to be firm and bold with their decisions, even in times when there may be risks. Lastly, E stood for empathy, since leaders always need to understand other people and be aware of how they feel. All of these factors will make a successful leader.


Shaun expressed his fruitful ideas to the group and the students were very appreciative of his lesson. Captains of sports teams, presidents of clubs, members of the student government, and other Oratory students can learn from Shaun’s message and apply it to their everyday activities at school. Shaun said himself that not everyone has the chance to go to a high school as great as Oratory, so everyone should take advantage of the influential opportunities that are available!