Home' Independence : Independence Vol 35 No 1 May 2010 Contents 16 Independence Vol 35 No 1 May 10
Firbank Grammar School Captain Mary Trumble (left) and Cordelia Prowd, Deputy Captain (right).
Furthermore, every year level is asked
to elect girls from their year to represent
them in a Student Council, which aims
to represent and meet the needs of the
student body. By discussing ideas and
concerns voiced by the students in weekly
meetings, we work collaboratively to
create a more positive and democratic
environment for our peers. The Council
members also initiate, plan and host
fundraising activities for both local and
international causes. In 2009, the Council
worked tirelessly to raise over $6,000
for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and
continued our support of Women for
Women in Africa.
While there are many leadership positions
across the Senior School, all Firbank
students are assured that one does not
have to be officially ‘elected’ as a leader
to lead. We have many girls who initiate
independent action to lead and inspire
others, becoming admirable members of
our community. Last year, one of our Year
11 students shaved her head for cancer
in the World’s Greatest Shave, raising
over $1,000. This was an exceedingly
courageous thing to do and was an
action greatly esteemed by her peers.
We also have many girls volunteering
in community initiatives, including
regularly volunteering at a Cheltenham
soup kitchen and taking part in Clean
Up Australia Day. These activities open
the girls’ eyes to the real world existing
beyond the school gates and enthuses
them to lead by example in the future.
A person does not become a leader
overnight – one must know how to
lead oneself before one can lead others.
Firbank encourages every girl to believe
that she can and should lead a strong and
independent life and nurtures leadership
capacity in every girl through countless
activities. These opportunities enable
girls to develop a strong sense of self and
the attitude that anything is possible if
you have the strength to raise others and
yourself to the challenge.
Deputy Captain of School,
The Glennie School,
The Glennie School is an Anglican school
for girls, with 740 students from Prep
to Year 12, including 203 boarders from
Year 7. Head of School: Mrs Wendy
Seven years ago Glennie abolished the
old ‘prefect or defect’ model of student
leadership and introduced a more
democratic, bottom-up approach based
on a committee system. We kept the old
prefects’ motto, however: Non Sibi Sed
Scholae (not for self but for school).
Starting from the assumption that student
leaders can exert an enormous influence
for good, the first priority is to ensure that
they have been chosen by their peers.
Every January, all the 80 to 90 Year 11
girls attend a team-building day and, in
October, a two-day conference during
which they are challenged physically,
mentally, socially and spiritually. At the
end, they indicate their preference for
serving on up to three of the school’s
12 committees. There is one for each of
the four houses, plus chapel, boarding,
academic, sports, arts, student welfare,
the inter-year program (Year 12s paired
with Year 8s) and Interact.
Girls are not required to join a committee
but they almost always do. The girls
may not be members of more than
two committees, so preferences are
used to balance the numbers. Once the
committee lists go up, the members meet
to elect their Captain and Vice Captain.
Staff disentangle the ‘knots’ caused by
girls being elected as leaders of two
committees, working down the rank
orders until they arrive at 24 leaders.
These 24 students are eligible for
additional consideration as School
Captain or School Vice Captain.
These are appointments made by the
Head alone, but with student (from
Year 7 upwards) and staff votes
taken heavily into consideration.
Being a leader means connecting people –
regardless of age, background or personality.
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