What Does It Take To Be a Leader?


Sabrina Lo, Staff Writer

Leaders are present everywhere in society, and at Arcadia High School, there are many.

I interviewed freshman Amber Cheung, sophomore Mako Amano, junior Shannon Cheng, junior Kevin Wu, senior Michelle Chen, and senior Nicole Klatt; all of whom are leaders in some way at AHS. 

To begin with, let’s start with introductions. Cheung is the freshman Class President, Cheng is the Symphony Orchestra Concert Mistress, Amano and Wu both played leading roles in AHS’ recent play, Mamma Mia!, Chen is the President of Key Club, and Klatt is the Orchestra Council president as well as the cello section leader in the Symphony Orchestra.  

A leader must possess many qualities to make them suitable for the role. However, each person’s traits and values are different. For Wu, hard work is key to being successful.

“Being a leader regards putting in the work above the necessary requirement, dedication, and practice,” said Wu. “As a lead role in theatre, you do not have the authority to command others, but you may have to take action in charge of things.” 

Cheng also believes that a vital part of being a leader is being humble. 

“Just because one is “labeled” as a leader, they should not overuse their power to make it seem like they are superior to everyone. A leader should instead try to guide everyone in the right direction, not dictate,” stated Cheng. “As a leader, I lead by example of how we can strive for improvement, and not necessarily perfection.”

Leaders are not just given their roles complimentarily; in many cases, auditions or a way of selection is required. 

For Cheung, this meant getting signatures for her ASB petition, campaigning, and making statements to let her peers know why she was a good candidate. Amano had to audition for his role with confidence and emotion and ultimately, was chosen to play Sam Carmichael, a leading role in Mamma Mia!

Before being elected President of Key Club, Chen needed to undergo an intensive election round, including applications, a speech, questioning, and a caucus session specific to presidential candidates. 

Klatt not only needed to audition to be a cello section leader, which is the leader of all the cellos in the orchestra; she previously had to audition to get into Symphony Orchestra, the highest orchestra at AHS. 

Being a leader is not just dictate, dictate, dictate. In fact, it is quite the contrary. 

“The other officers also bear responsibility in managing the club, and as the President, I have to think of how to maintain both the officer board and the club, and how to best delegate tasks to ensure the proper functioning of the club,” said Chen. 

There also is an added-on responsibility and workload, to make things run smoothly.

The most challenging part of being a leader is mostly bearing the pressure, stresses, and expectations of the position,” said Wu. 

Although there are so many challenges and additional responsibilities with being a leader, there are rewards. Amano and Wu share similar feelings of gratitude for the reactions of the audience, giving them thunderous applause after working so hard. 

“Behind the glory, you look back, reminisce, and remember the hard work and effort you put into the musical for thousands to enjoy,” said Wu. 

Cheung, Cheng, Chen, and Klatt would all agree that the most rewarding part of being a leader is seeing their peers happy and excelling. 

“I learn from others as I lead…The wisdom I’ve gained and analytical mindset I’ve exercised through my leadership positions are applicable to other branches of daily life,” said Klatt.

So next time you look at your leader, think of all the work behind the scenes they had to do and appreciate them! 


Photo Courtesy of FLICKR