NORTH READING — Student leadership was the theme of presentations about activities at the Middle School given to the School Committee at their meeting Monday night.

“It’s an age to think about where you want to go and what you want to do,” Principal Dr. Catherine O’Connell said. “It’s about empowering this age group to take a hold of their future and it starts with leadership.”

On January 31 and March 6, High School students led Middle School students in exercises about leadership and how to act in difficult circumstances, based on parameters outlined in the Celtics Playbook Initiative sponsored by the Shamrock Foundation that was launched by members of the team in 2017, and Project 351, a Boston-based nonprofit organization so named because each one of the 351 communities in the state sends a student to a conference.

“Middle School students want to talk to High School students,” O’Connell pointed out. “They feel High School students know what it’s like to be Middle School students because they were just a few years ago. Having this mentoring is a benefit of having a shared campus.”

“The Playbook is a checklist of scenarios that revolve around racial and sexual identity issues, among other things, that you can see in Middle and High School, and having students figure out how they’d respond,” High School student Brian Conlon explained.

“We split into small groups grade by grade,” High School student Julia DeAngelis added. “One scenario was if a friend made a racist joke, what is your role as a bystander and what should you do? Our role was to prompt responses, not feed them answers, and I was very impressed with the students.”

Among the participants was Brayden Santeusanio, who also represented the town in a Project 351 event at the JFK Library. “To see how my associates and friends really thought and seeing how people interact with each other and with different opinions was intriguing and fascinating,” he said. “Helping people has always been a value of mine. It made me happy people who go to public school can experience common needs. I felt there were people in my pond who shared my interests.”

He called being chosen to represent North Reading “a really big honor. I didn’t think I’d be in a position like this because there are so many great people out there.

“It’s not necessarily the president of the Student Council is chosen, but someone who shows leadership,” O’Connell told him. “That’s what your teachers and I saw in you.”

She also said, “Part of (Project) 351 is to go back to your school and do a project of your own,” in reference to Santeusanio’s clothing drive at the school. It will run through next Friday, April 5. “It’s going pretty well,” Santeusanio feels.

He also told the School Committee “it’d be great if you could donate as well. You might have stuff lying around.”

Middle School student Eva Wang was one of 15 students from the school who attended the Massachusetts Partners for Youth Student Leadership Conference March 22 at the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School. They were among nearly 400 students from 22 schools to attend.

“We talked about how to be a leader and interact with others,” Wang reported to the committee. “We talked about leadership as a learnable and practical skill. My relationship with myself is the basis of my relationships with other people. You need to know how to guide yourself before you can guide others.”

“You’re not born a leader,” O’Connell added. “You can learn leadership skills and this is the age to learn to be a leader.”

O’Connell even shadowed Wang for a day to see how she acts. “I appreciate you allowing me to do that,” she told Wang.

Middle School psychologist Michael Hursh helped facilitate the trip. “I was so proud of all the students who went,” he said. “It’s a big task to ask them to stand with 400 students and they weren’t allowed to be with students from their own school, which can be intimidating.”

“You seem so well spoken and it sounds like you learned a lot,” School Committee member Noelle Rudloff said to Wang. “You may be more of a leader than you think you are.”

“You represented North Reading so well,” Superintendent Dr. Patrick Daly told all the students.