LEILEHUA CULTIVATES LEADERS
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Ryan Benito, left, Nicole Pitts, Ryan Beland and Robert Dickie, Junior ROTC cadets from Leilehua High School, were selected to attend an expenses-paid leadership symposium in Virginia this week.
Cadets on the move
Four Junior ROTC students win a free trip to a leadership symposium on the mainland
Four Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from Leilehua High School are among only 144 from around the world to earn the privilege of attending a leadership symposium this month in Lexington, Va.
Seniors Robert Dickie and Ryan Beland and juniors Ryan Benito and Nicole Pitts are the only JROTC members from Hawaii to attend the event, the second annual George C. Marshall Foundation Leadership Symposium. And they are one of only two groups to attend from the 13th JROTC Brigade, a regional district that includes several states, American Samoa, Guam and the Mariana Islands.
They won on the basis of two essays about principles and different components of leadership, and also their personal profiles, which included academic proficiency and a large number of community service hours. The entire cost of their trip will be paid by the Army.
All four are military dependents. Dickie, Beland and Benito want to have military careers, and Pitts wants to be a medical researcher. Pitts said they all feel "really honored" to be chosen and want to find out more about their strengths, "improve ourselves and to interact with ROTC from other areas."
Dickie added, "We are pretty excited. We're hoping to learn new things, learn abut other cultures and meet people from other countries."
As proven leaders in their unit, one of the most effective tools they have learned is the "winning colors" system that describes leadership styles; each style is associated with a color, Pitt said.
Dickie, a cadet lieutenant colonel, Beland, a major, and Benito, a captain, have been classified as "builders," and Pitt, a captain, is a "planner," according to Beland. The other types are relaters or adventurers.
Beland said the system helps them to appreciate differences in personality and ways of thinking among members of a group. By gaining insight into another's preferences, a person can adapt his or her personal communication skills and behavior in a way that is more likely to be understood and win a positive response, he said.
For example, a builder (associated with the color brown) is a type of person who enjoys leading and being upfront with people by expressing himself openly and directly.
"We know what we ought to do and are up front in telling others what they should do," Beland said. "We like to have rules, law, order and direction so we know where we are going and may keep others under our power. We are on time, dependable and loyal. We want those we lead to be that same way. We desire power and control, and once we have it we improve the individuals who we are in charge of."
Pitts, as a planner (green), "is quiet and only speaks when she is sure of herself," he said. "She likes to be correct and do things right. She looks at all of the details and tries to make everything be perfect. She likes to listen to others, rather than always being the one talking.
"She is calm, cool and collected on the outside but not always on the inside. She tends to hide her strong feelings."
Beland said males are usually builders and adventurers (red), and females relaters (blue) and planners.
But Pitts said she does not feel overshadowed by the other three even though their style of leadership is more aggressive.
"I speak up with people I know, and I've known them for about three years," she said.
"There are more female leaders this year at Leilehua and throughout the nation," according to ROTC surveys, she added.