Elevate Young Leaders Program 2013
Over three wonderful days, Leon Kalatzis, Brian Lieu and I attended a leadership conference at Wollongong University. Accompanied by 250 other year 11 leaders from across the State, we undertook a wide range of activities. Each day had a specific goal:
Social Responsibility; Challenging the Process ; Inspiring Action.
Inspiring leaders, such as Rick Newnam and Shannon Nott, shared their journey to help inspire us, as youth, to get out and be good role models in the school and wider community. University students also got involved and challenged us with activities – helium stick, thunder, scavenger hunt…
The day always kicked off with a fantastic dance party! The food was always amazing! And best of all, we have all made life long friendships with other students from across the State.
We had an absolutely fantastic opportunity that was so much fun! We are all looking forward to the reunion next year, to catch up with other young leaders!
Leon, Brian and I also have some new ideas to share around the school. We thoroughly enjoyed the days and we'd like to thank Mrs Cleaton for the opportunity!
Rachel Cook (School Captain)
Students don't have to be school captains or house captains to be considered leaders. We encourage our students to be leaders in the classroom and playground, through their support for other students, or their involvement in academic, sporting, cultural or community events and projects.
The Student Representative Council (SRC)
The SRC is the school's student decision-making forum. Heathcote High School has a very proactive SRC. There are 32 elected members from Years 7 - 12. Successful representatives organise and participate in various projects and charitable activities, and discuss matters of real concern to the student body. Student leaders of the SRC meet regularly with the principal to raise and resolve issues.
The SRC was actively involved in the review of our school's Values platform and Code of Behaviour, known as the COTES CODE.
The SRC are actively involved in charitable activites, most recently in raisng money for The Assistance Dogs association and CANTEEN.
SRC representatives are also active regionally and at the state level. One of our students recently represented our region at the State SRC meeting, allowing her the opportunity to work with other students from a variety of other schools.
College of Candidates
The Year 11 ‘college of candidates' program gives twenty senior students training in a range of leadership skills and prepares them for the school captain selection process. It is from this select group that the captains and vice-captains are chosen.
In 2012 I was provided with the opportunity to be part of the Regional SRC. I was informed there would be a selection panel and that I would have to prepare a speech listing my strengths and the qualities that would make me a good leader.
Once my application had been sent through, I then had to give a speech at Caringbah High School explaining why I wanted to be selected for the regional SRC of 2012. Being a part of this team included going to meetings and attending a camp with all other students from NSW. Many kids tried out for the position, and I was notified a few weeks later that I had been accepted.
After being accepted, I went to Oatley Campus to have a meeting with the rest of the Regional SRC. I met all of the other students in the group, who came from all over the Sydney region. We also planned what we were going to present as our ‘Big Idea' to the camp that we were going to. The big idea was something that each region in NSW had to think of. It was something that your region had to come up with together and you were all passionate about so that it could have a chance of being sent to the State SRC where the idea would be implemented in all schools. Our region's idea was to improve the nomination system of SRC in all schools.
A few weeks later, we attended the camp which was held in Arcadia. The camp ran for four days, and included many workshops that helped you improve your SRC skills. Students from all over NSW came, and they were all a part of a different region. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. It was a very exciting time for all the students as everyone had worked so hard and we were all so keen to present our ideas. The theme for 2012 was "Represent", which encompassed all aspects of the Student Representative Council, and it was all about the students.
On the very last day, each region from the camp presented all of the students with their big idea. From there, each student voted on the top three ideas that they thought should be implemented in all schools. Our big idea was lucky enough to receive enough votes to be taken to the State SRC.
Peer Support is a whole-school initiative which partners older students with a group of younger students to encourage discussion about issues and problems they may encounter or are already facing. Older students act as mentors, educating younger students on how to handle peer pressures, provide support and teach life skills which empower young students.
The overall aim of the Peer Support program is to build the self-esteem and confidence of younger students by connecting them through friendship and structured activities with older students. This results in a reduction in bullying incidences and a more cohesive and friendly school environment.
Year 10 students are trained as Peer Support leaders to support Year 7 transition to High School.
Peer mediation is one of the conflict resolution strategies available to schools by which students are actively involved in resolving their own disputes. It involves one or two students trained in mediation leading other students through a structured process to resolve a dispute.
As an early intervention strategy, peer mediation can play a part in reducing violence, truancy and vandalism in schools. Peer mediation is seen as a long-term program to be incorporated into the school's ethos rather than as a 'quick fix'.
Schools seek to empower students by teaching them the skills to resolve conflict in non-violent ways. This improves relationships and allows for the possibility that conflict can be productive and positive. Evidence exists that peer mediation programs improve school climate by helping students feel safer at school (Shepherd 1994).
The self-empowering aspect of mediation - students participating in decision-making about issues central to their lives - makes it an important tool for fostering self-regulation, self-confidence and self-discipline.
Peer mediation programs also contribute to the development of students who are self-governing and self-regulating members of the school and broader community.
Year 11 Students are trained as Peer mediators to assist with conflict resolution with in the student body.
DUKE OF EDINBURGH
All students may also particiapte in a range of special programs, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which actively develop personal initiative and leadership capabilities. (More information under extra-curricular)