“Say what you believe and see who follows” (Seth Godin).
Authenticity is at the crux of good leadership and it is key in the appointment of our senior students to leadership positions, including the traditional roles of College Captain and Vice Captain, as well as Prefect. In addition to this team of Prefects, students can be appointed to the position of Captain; these Captaincy roles extend across a number of areas and include Academic, Chapel, International, Performing Arts, Pennants, Sport and House Captains. This team of student leaders meet on a regular basis to discuss issues pertaining to their cohort and the student body, and they act as a voice for the students; they also work closely with particular staff members, introducing new initiatives and assisting in the facilitation of events. They are responsible for leading College assemblies, assisting in maintaining College expectations and representing the College in the wider community.
Developing leadership skills is important, not only for students who strive to become badged leaders but for students in their life beyond the College. Leadership and the development of these skills is a key focus at our Year 11 Retreat each year, where students learn about what makes a good leader, how to work in teams and how to manage difficult situations. The Year 11 Leadership Retreat is also a good forum for students to further develop the relationships they have with one another and see who really is “walking the walk”. After this retreat, the students embark on the leadership journey, during which they apply for positions of leadership and have the opportunity to indicate which students they see as leaders. Early on in their appointment, the student leaders get to hone their leadership skills and learn the practicalities of leadership, like setting meeting agendas and taking minutes, at a leadership day.
Having badged leaders is imperative but leadership is not just about a badge or a title at Saint Stephen’s College. In fact, some of the best leadership skills can be demonstrated by students who don’t have a position per se; what they do have is passion, motivation and drive. Additionally, some of the best leadership skills have been demonstrated by students in the way they have dealt with disappointment, in the way they have bounced back from adversity and in the way they have recovered from making mistakes. Further, authentic leadership is something that is fostered early on and grows from a young age. To this end, leadership opportunities are offered to our younger students, whether it be attending leadership experiences such as Altitude Day (Year 9), forming student committees such as the Year 10 Dinner Committee, or giving students the chance to attend school trips where they can take leading roles eg. volunteering in a school in Cambodia.