For Scotch College’s 2021 student leaders, leadership is about leading from within.
Incoming 2021 School Captain Josh Ledger says that what he has learnt most about leadership at Scotch is the importance of leading by example.
“It doesn’t take one person to lead the school, it is a team effort and requires a lot of involvement from everyone within the cohort,” Mr Ledger said.
“It is a privilege to be a part of that team. It is important to understand this, and lead amongst, not above. I am incredibly honoured to be in a leadership position.”
Scotch College’s leadership program sees all students in Years 11 and 12 take on a leadership role, whether or not they have been elected into a school or house leadership position.
All Year 11s participate in a year-long course and undertake one lesson a week with their head of house as they explore their values and gain valuable communication skills.
Year 11 and 12 Coordinator Mark Gale believes the focus for leadership needs to be on personal development, communication and how to work effectively in a group.
“We want our leaders to be compassionate. Scotch students have a wonderful ability to be accepting of different characters and people from different backgrounds and experiences,” Mr Gale said.
“We ask all our Year 11s to reflect on the historic Gettysburg Address, where in just 272 words United States President Abraham Lincoln captured the attention of the world. Our students then deliver a speech, in as many words, based on their values.”
“The boys also share their experience of vulnerability through the ‘triple H’ speech, based on a hero, highlight or hardship in their life.
“This is a really important opportunity for students to experience others’ perspectives and we’ve seen them make incredible connections through giving and listening to these speeches.”
Scotch’s leadership program runs across the school, with a concurrent program in Junior School.
In Year 5 – the final year of Junior School at Scotch – all students have the chance to take on a leadership role with multiple positions on offer, including house captains, sustainability captains and class representatives.
Students learn how to negotiate, represent their peers, organise an event and develop their public speaking skills.
Headmaster Dr Alec O’Connell says leading is about service, humility and respect.
“We’re not looking to foster leaders who don’t listen to others and always believe they’re right,” Dr O’Connell said.
“At Scotch we want our students to see value in all perspectives and view the opportunity to lead as the privilege it is.
“One of our five school captain positions is dedicated to community service, and I think that reflects how both staff and our students consider leadership within the school.
“We encourage all our students to get involved and take the lead, whether that be organising their house for the swimming carnival, fundraising for motor neurone disease or engaging with other local young people through all-abilities cricket.
“At the end of the year our graduating class have the opportunity to earn ‘colours’ in recognition of what they’ve brought to their final school year.
“This is a chance for students to self-nominate and, in particular, a moment where we recognise that a leader doesn’t need a title to make a difference to those around them.”
Next year’s Vice-Captain of School (Service) Simon Arnott says community service allows us to grow as a community, making those around us stronger and providing support to others when they need it.
“As through our actions, this is how we are depicted – our identity is shaped by who we are within our community and our outlook toward the wider school, state and national communities,” said Mr Arnott.