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Published on June 1st, 2012 | by webadmin




On Monday 28 May, Isaac and I had the privilege of hosting 65 student leaders from 19 various schools. This included Catholic, Public and Private schools. Inspired by the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives, the event was aimed at bringing together a large group of Adelaide student leaders to discuss and share ideas of leadership in schools and in the community. Instead of being told what leadership was we wanted to know and share with them what they thought it was all about.

Isaac and I fortunately were organised prior to the date but who would have thought how many details we would need to cover! Luckily for us we were able to accumulate wisdom from the more experienced. (Thank you Doc White!). Coming to the day with a black eye from playing football on the weekend I was a bit apprehensive but was told that it would just make us Saints guys look tougher. We’ll see how it comes up in the photos.

All the leaders arrived after 8:30am in the Big School Room. From the start of the day there was a unique atmosphere and energy as the many girls and boys met and connected on their joint passion for student leadership. It was special to note that for a large part of the day the conversation never died and fortunately even in the absence of teachers all participants cooperated fantastically! This highlighted the genuine nature of the student led initiative and allowed for the leaders to take their own responsibility and lead on the day.

Isaac and I had in conjunction with the formal sessions, ice breaker quizzes and games. One thing I enjoyed greatly was observing the students attempt to draw words such as ‘leadership’ and ‘autumn’ in a team competition of Pictionary!

But the primary focus of the day was asking questions which allowed the students to share their thoughts on what they deeply care about as a school, as individuals, what they are proud of and what sort of legacy they hope to leave. Throughout the day the various groups of boys and girls from public and private schools recorded the events, ideas and initiatives of their schools to gather the many thoughts on leadership.

After morning tea we were fortunate to have Master Rose Alwyn of St Mark’s College give an engaging presentation on leadership. Her presentation touched on the classification of IQ and how in fact Emotional intelligence or EQ was a significant part of leadership and how important it is for leaders to understand members in their group or community.

Following on from this we asked those involved to plan ahead and think of how they could each leave a positive legacy within their school. After making many new friends and hearing new ideas from other schools, the students left feeling inspired to make an impact in their respective communities. As a result of the recorded ideas of various leaders, Isaac and I will be able to collate and present a white paper sharing the findings of the day with various members of Parliament. Having the student leaders collectively put down on paper their thoughts, feelings and desires was a very valuable forum that we hope will be heard and make a difference.

A big thank you to the visiting school leaders, the day was focused on them and their cooperatives and it was a tremendous pleasure to meet and befriend such fantastic people. I look forward to seeing what sort of impact these spectacular leaders will make on our future. It’s very encouraging to see the breadth of talent, passion and commitment in these young people. Thank you also to Mr Bill McInerney for helping with set up and to Dr Matthew White, Mr Sam McKinney and Headmaster, Mr Simon Murray for allowing us to host such an event. The Saints prefects should also be commended on their hospitality. These guys showed fantastic courtesy, respect and leadership all day helping facilitate each table, set up and greeting our visitors.

Ollie van Ruth
School Captain


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