Creating leaders of the future

Students leaders from St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen were joined by secondary schools from across the Upper Hunter for the Burn Bright Leadership Day at St Luke’s Hall in Scone.

150 students in Years 8 to 10 from Merriwa Central School, Scone Grammar School, Scone High School, Muswellbrook High School and St Joseph’s were selected to attend the training day based on their leadership potential or roles within their school.

The day, designed in consultation with Burn Bright and Where There’s A Will Foundation, aimed to develop the leadership skills of students by involving them in a range of challenging and engaging activities in a positive and supportive environment.

Burn Bright is a not-for-profit organisation that runs a range of leadership and wellbeing programs and camps that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of schools across the country. These programs aim to improve the wellbeing of young people to help them improve classroom outcomes and develop as strong leaders.

“We actively partner with schools to deliver highly dynamic and engaging programs, that excite young people and help them to build solid foundations from which they can flourish,” said CEO of Burn Bright, Andy Skidmore.

Throughout the day, students learnt about building positive relationships and making connections as a foundation for leadership; what it means to be a leader; how values drive your leadership ability; the importance of vision, enthusiasm and energy to assist in achieving leadership goals and potential; how to surround yourself with positive and supportive people and how to make an impact on your school and community.

“Students had the chance to discuss their own abilities, to lead and inspire others as well as learn ways to seek out support amongst peers and in their relationships,” said teacher from St Joseph’s, Telaine Kelly.

“Students from St Joseph’s displayed high levels of motivation as they took on the day’s challenges with integrity and zest. They enjoyed themselves immensely and I wish to thank them for immersing themselves in such a positive manner.”

Students were also greeted by a special visitor on the day – Luther, a principal from Liberia in Western Africa and his wife, Christine, who recently established a school in the area called the Best Brains Academy. He spent the day observing the activities as a professional development experience and spoke to the students about his hopes of taking these types of activities back to Africa to enhance the wellbeing of his students.

Year 8 student, Anna Lloyd commented, “The Burn Bright Leadership Day was a great opportunity to learn about leadership and what it means to you.

“We listened to five spokespersons who held leadership roles and I realised that leadership is much more than what meets the eye – it is more than just standing on stage with a microphone in your hand or wearing a badge. It is about showing respect to others, helping those in need and leading the way. The leadership day was extremely beneficial and I am going to use more leadership in the future.”

Millie Harris, also in Year 8 said, “I enjoyed Burn Bright as it gave me the opportunity to learn how to become a better leader and formed many new friendships throughout the day.”

Where There’s A Will Student Leadership Coordinator, Lindy Hunt said, “The day gave students the opportunity to develop new friendships and strengthen relationships between schools.

Where There’s A Will conducts leadership activities that are focussed on our community model called PERMA. We put students in experience that generate positive emotions and engage them in a different way to what they experience in a classroom so they develop positive relationships with people from across the Upper Hunter. This brings real meaning to the activities and gives students a feeling of achievement as a result of their involvement.

“All students benefit from such activities and they go away with new friends and skills that they can use not just at school and in their community, but in their lives generally,” she said.

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Gabrielle Sutherland Image
Gabrielle Sutherland

Gabrielle Sutherland is a Marketing & Communications Officer for the Catholic Schools Office and a regular contributor to and Aurora.

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