Inspiring heartfelt student leaders

More than 200 students from eight Catholic primary schools were inspired to become better leaders after taking part in a Young Leaders Day at Our Lady of the Rosary (OLR) Catholic Primary Kensington.

An initiative of OLR, the day involved the school’s student leadership team and those from Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Primary Pagewood, St Thomas More’s Catholic Primary Brighton-Le-Sands, St Bernard’s Catholic Primary Botany, Galilee Catholic Primary Bondi, St Gabriel’s Catholic Primary Bexley, St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Primary Arncliffe, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Rockdale and St Andrew’s Catholic Primary Malabar.

With the theme for the day ‘Heart Leadership’, speakers were encouraged to reflect on the drive, grit, determination and passion it took for them to succeed as leaders and how they dealt with setbacks and struggles.

In welcoming the 220 students to the inaugural event, Elizabeth O’Carrigan, Director of Sydney Catholic Schools Eastern Region, told the students they had a unique opportunity to learn from some outstanding leaders.

“Today you will hear a range of views and ideas from leaders in the arts, sport, music, education and business that will inspire you to be even better leaders at your schools.”

Sydney Catholic Schools Executive Director Dr Dan White congratulated the students on the leadership role they play at their schools.

He said if there was one leadership tip he would pass on it would be that good leaders should be like a ‘gold nugget!’

“Good leaders possess three inspiring and unique qualities – they are good conductors, good reflectors and are good catalysts.”

The students enjoyed holding and passing around a gold nugget Dr White brought with him for the presentation, and engaged in a Q & A session.

The day’s other inspirational speakers were renowned children’s author Libby Hathorn, retired rugby league player Beau Champion, accomplished musician Amber Laurence and successful businessman Les Timar.

After listening to each speaker, the students had time to reflect and discuss with each other, what the message of each presentation meant for them and their leadership roles within their school and the wider community. The five key concepts central to the discussions were purpose, ambition, collaboration, perseverance and service.

OLR Assistant Principal Vanessa Polin, who facilitated the day, said it was wonderful to have leaders from so many different fields to pass on their knowledge and experience to the students.

“It was a very successful day with lots of positive reflections from students and teachers.”

Some of the students’ responses were:

“I liked how we got to listen to leaders who inspired us to be better leaders.”

“Now I understand what it takes to be a good role model to others.”

The teachers were also enthusiastic saying: “The presenters were excellent and varied and the common thread of what qualities a leader exemplifies, certainly came through as a clear message. Hopefully it becomes an annual event!”

The student leadership teams and their teachers thanked OLR’s Principal Marie Nilon and the school’s leadership team, for having the vision to organise and host the event and provide local Catholic schools with the opportunity to collaborate on such an important subject.

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