On Tuesday of this week our senior school students and a number of family members and supporters gathered in the auditorium for an important annual event – the induction of our leadership team chosen from what will be the Class of 2020.
As a school community, we understand the importance of providing a range of leadership opportunities for ourstudents, supporting them in these roles and encouraging them to learn more about what it is that makes a great leader. We know how important it is for student leaders to learn how to motivate, influence, persuade and encourage. We want them to discover how to build effective relationships, manage and resolve conflicts and accomplish tasks effectively.
Although I was not able to attend the ceremony, our Associate Principal, Andrew McGregor officiated at the event. Amongst other things, he was particularly impressed by the insights presented by school captains, Tessa Harrison and Divine Emezie into the challenges and complexities of leadership. In considering the question of ‘one person who has inspired me’, Tessa Harrison chose one of the African American mathematicians working at NASA in the early days of the space program. Katherine Johnson’s calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of the first and subsequent manned spaceflights. Although she and her colleagues faced appalling discrimination, this did not stop them from persevering with their work – the ‘hidden figures‘ of the book and movie of the same name. As Tessa said: ‘Katherine Johnson was a great leader, who also paved the way for all woman, especially African American woman. She faced challenges, but she got through them no matter how tough they were.’
Following Tessa, Divine Emezie then offered some further insights on the subject of leadership: ‘For us to lead well, there are a few always and nevers we must keep in mind. Never let the fear of failure stop or side-track the goals you set for yourself. Never forget to enjoy the times with those around you, because they come and go only once. Always remember to think wide. Always be prepared to do the uncomfortable work, the hard work, and the work that lacks immediate recognition or congratulations. Above all, always remember who you are and stay true to yourself.
We expect a lot of our young people and I am confident the leadership group of 2020 will, both individually and collectively, fulfil our expectations and significantly enhance Westbourne’s culture of community and service.