Growing Leadership Skills
School experiences are providing the grounding for a lifetime of influence
EXCEL 2016 Melbourne Independent Schools, 14 June 2016 pages 10-11:
Giving students leadership opportunities is a strong tradition that encourages a very hands-on approach at today’s schools. But does being a school captain set you up for career success?
Students at schools throughout Melbourne are offered all kinds of leadership roles – whether it be serving as a sporting team captain, leading the school in sustainability initiatives or serving as the student body’s top representative. St Catherine’s School Careers Co-ordinator Pauline van der Poel said being a student leader helped young people gain skills such as advocating for change and inﬂuencing the wider community.
“Holding a leadership position at St Catherine’s provides our students with an early opportunity to learn about leadership, change and inclusion very early in their career journey,” Mrs van der Poel said. “They appreciate the importance of equity, respect, empathy and perseverance – all of which are lifelong skills that are exceptionally valuable to any future career.”
The opportunity to develop leadership experience starts early within the school’s Junior School Council. The council is made up of Year 6 students and this year is chaired by Junior School Captain Daisy and Junior School Vice-Captain Clementine. Daisy said she nominated herself for the role as she wanted to be a role model and to help younger students. “I really enjoy speaking at school assembly and assisting (Head of Junior School) Mrs Moor with the tasks she assigns to the captains,” Daisy said.
“So far however, the biggest highlight has been our school church service at St Paul’s Cathedral. Clementine and I were part of the formal procession at the service, it was a big responsibility.”
The school also has a school captain and vice captain from Year 12, who are nominated after showing leadership skills in the lead-up to their ﬁnal year as well as having completed the school’s leadership diploma course.
School student wellbeing director Merran O’Connor said the diploma gave students in 9 and 10 a chance to discover their own understanding of leadership – whether it be inspiring others, taking initiative or simply stepping out of their comfort zone.
“The structure of the diploma enables every Year 9 and 10 student to exhibit leadership in practical and meaningful ways, including guiding teammates on the sporting ﬁeld, volunteering time to support a community service or taking the next step to initiate an event or activity,” Ms O’Connor said.