Get to know our 2019 School Captains, Kavina Kalaichelvam and Georgina Cottrill.
Kavina and Georgina share their thoughts and plans for the year ahead and their leadership roles as School Captains.
What do you hope to achieve in your roles as School Co-Captains?
Kavina: I hope I can make the St Catherine’s experience this year one of humour, tenacity and grace. One where every girl can feel comfortable in being themselves, whether that be in the classroom or on the field, and that there is an overriding sense of unity in such diversity. To know that whatever may happen inside or outside school, we will be smart, kind, inquisitive, and strong enough to deal with it.
Georgina: While I do not have one specific goal I hope to achieve, I aim to be approachable and kind, and ensure every girl knows they have a place in St Catherine’s – a home away from home. A place where every girl feels a sense of belonging. It is the smaller, day-to-day interactions which often have the largest impact and I believe these small acts of kindness are integral to the School’s identity.
What duties will you perform as School Co-Captains?
Kavina: My primary focus is to be someone the student voice can rely on, on both a large and personal scale. My duty is to ensure that every girl who walks through the Heyington gates knows there is a place for them and that they are heard. Through innovative and creative initiatives, big and small, I hope to champion this privilege of belonging.
Georgina: As School Co-Captains, Kavina and I will work with all students to understand their needs and wants. Together with the student executive, we will try to implement those changes and activities. We will also work closely with the Year 12s to execute the visions of our cohort, ensuring the class of 2019 leaves behind an enduring legacy. And of course, we will work with the wonderful teachers who surround us – drawing on their advice and ideas.
What attracted you to a position on the Student Executive?
Kavina: There is something uniquely liberating yet confusing about the final year of school. While we are constantly looking forward to our futures, there is also a lot of reflecting upon the years we have spent at St Catherine’s; walking through the clocktower or past a classroom can evoke a myriad of memories. It is this sentiment of having something so invaluable given to you that you can do nothing but pass it down as authentically and humbly as you can, and I believe the student executive is the very body in which to do that with.
Georgina: I have always looked up to the senior leaders and more recently, I have come to admire their teamwork, passion and the key role they play in organising fun and valuable initiatives. Being on the student executive is the perfect opportunity to give back to the School community, and make an even stronger connection with St Catherine’s in my final year.
Is there a high-profile individual or community leader that you admire and why?
Kavina: I admire Ellen DeGeneres not because of her fame or success, but for the simple reason that she is able to bring laughter and joy into people’s lives, every single day. I once read that there are people in the world who emanate light and warmth the moment they enter a room, and Ellen does exactly this. Talking to prime ministers and children with the same, unwavering respect, she makes every person sitting on her couch feel like a celebrity, regardless if they are one or not. I believe everyone in the St Catherine’s community deserves to feel that way at one point or another.
Georgina: A good leader is someone who stands by their beliefs and is prepared to go out on a limb for others. While there have been many remarkable, high-profile leaders, I believe some of the most important leadership is carried out by ordinary people who display integrity. In the words of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
How would you like to be remembered as student leaders of St Catherine’s?
Kavina: I hope to be remembered as a someone who was humbly determined, passionately light-hearted and persistently reliable. Someone who never compromised their sense of self, and someone who inspired others to do the same.
Georgina: I hope to be remembered as a leader who is kind, down-to-earth and willing to ‘dive into the deep end’ with enthusiasm. I hope I will have shown vulnerability in the sense of being authentic, while listening and being a voice for the student body. If I am able to make one girl smile, through humour or a kind act, I have done my job well.
What do you enjoy about St Catherine’s School?
Kavina: I joined St Catherine’s a timid girl who quietly thought she already knew everything she would have to know about the world. Now as I enter my final year, the only thing I do know is that there is so much I am yet to do, experience and achieve. I believe that is a testament to St Catherine’s. Its ability to let every girl know that there is an entire world to be conquered outside 17 Heyington Place, and that each of us has the very power to do so.
Georgina: In my first week at St Catherine’s, as a reserved Year 7, I was repeatedly asked which GSV sport I would join. When I responded, ‘Probably Softball, except I am not very good at sport’, I was met with endless encouraging remarks such as ‘it will be fun’ and ‘that does not matter’. I was overwhelmed by everyone’s inclusivity and the ‘give-it-a-go’ attitude. This mind-set is prevalent in all aspects of the School, including the student-led House Arts – one of my personal favourite House competitions. I think that is what is so special about St Catherine’s; the caring nature of students and teachers alike, which is so deeply embedded that it is a part of the School’s identity.