Student Voices – From the GSA Captain

2022 GSA Captain, Valerie Plastow

What do you hope to accomplish in your role as Captain this year?
I would like to encourage students to support members of the LGBTQI+ community and inspire others to feel confident in themselves and show empathy. I aim to do this through presentations, fun activities, and discussions, which will allow many people in our School community to gain a more extensive understanding of the many parts of the LGBTQI+ community. I hope everyone who attends GSA will be able to have fun and learn new things at the same time!

How did you become interested in a student leadership role?
Ever since I attended my first GSA session in Year 9, GSA has been an incredibly important part of my experience at St Catherine’s. Through GSA, I have been able to make new friends and have even learned a lot about myself! GSA has had so many wonderful effects on my life, which I would like other students to experience. I became interested in receiving a leadership role in this group as a result of being passionate about GSA and equality for LGBTQI+ people, along with wanting to spread happiness and wanting to help others love themselves more.

What are the key responsibilities of your captaincy role?
A GSA Captain is responsible for planning a GSA session every Day 5. In these sessions, we often have presentations, and group discussions and even organise craft activities and ‘Kahoot!’ quizzes. GSA is a club in which we aim to help our School remain as inclusive and kind as possible, which these sessions hope to promote.

Along with organising these meetings at lunchtime, GSA also plans days such as Wear It Purple Day and IDAHOBIT. In previous years, students have worn a touch of purple or rainbow with their uniforms to show their support for the LGBTQI+ community and our LGBTQI+ friends on this day. The GSA Captain has a significant role in organising these days, which is another responsibility for the Captain of this group.

What is one word that best describes the kind of leader you would like to be?
I would like to be inspiring. I find it important for people to have someone to look up to and, similarly to how previous GSA leaders acted, I would like to be someone who can inspire students to express themselves and respect the identities of others.

Describe the most enjoyable aspect of being part of St Catherine’s Co-curricular activities.
Through Co-curricular activities, I have been able to meet many new friends and have even been able to meet students in other Year levels. It is very interesting to hear about other people’s experiences and to get to know my fellow students better. Everything about the groups and clubs I have been part of has been amazing, so it’s quite difficult to decide on what has been the most enjoyable!

What is one quality a good leader needs to have?
I would say that a good leader must be able to have empathy. To consider everyone’s perspectives when making decisions. As GSA Captain it is important for me for instance, to ask the rest of the GSA about what they would like to get out of the sessions and what is most enjoyable for them.

What is one thing you would like to take from the experience of being a Captain once you graduate from St Catherine’s School in 2022?
I hope to continue leading people and inspiring everyone I know to have empathy, confidence, and respect. These are important in life, and, if people can accept other people and themselves at the same time, they are able to have a much happier life. The values of GSA are incredibly important for the future, as acceptance of LGBTQI+ people will lead to a more equal and inclusive society.

Is there anything you would like to add?
GSA is such an amazing group to be a part of and I am looking forward to seeing everyone at our meetings in 2022!

Valerie Plastow

2022 GSA Captain

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