Meet Our SLC: Academic and Liturgy Captains

Niamh Smithies: Liturgy Captain

Why did you apply for a leadership position? 

I have always aspired to be a leader at Santa Maria. Leadership for me is taking initiative, serving others, and doing the right thing.

Since I started in Year 5, I have enjoyed involving myself in many co-curricular activities and opportunities which give service to the school and the wider community. From there stemmed the desire for leadership, to have my voice heard, to give back to this community, and to be a positive role model for others so that they can feel the belonging and happiness that I have felt in my school life.  

What do you hope to achieve in your new leadership role?

Santa Maria has helped me grow in my faith and feel a deeper sense of belonging to the community. Through my work as Liturgy Captain, I want to share this blessing with others.

With my role in the liturgical celebrations of the College, I will be able to continue to foster the strong faith-based focus of the school. I will also be working alongside the Ministry Team to make the faith more relevant to the contemporary student body of varying contexts and faiths.

I endeavour to make sure everyone feels included and welcome, and support people on their faith journey through liturgical celebrations which provide a close connection to the lives of students.   

What experience do you bring to this role?

I have been an altar server since I was 9 years old and over the years, I have become a senior altar server, meaning that I lead and train others. This significant role of service has been the beginning of my journey of leadership in liturgy by deepening my connection with the Mass and my faith community.

Throughout my years at Santa Maria, I have been part of the Student Representative Council and a leader in many different service groups. The autonomy and voice these positions have given me, allow me to feel confident in my decision-making and communication. They have also helped me gain the organisational skills necessary for a leadership role. However, leadership is also about role-modelling.

I always like to show by example, the level of dedication that I wish for and am working towards. I continue to find ways to strengthen my faith so that I can lead others in this capacity.

Who is a leader that you admire? 

Pope Francis. In 2013, in the Papal elections, he stood out from the other Cardinals by his incredible humility. For example, he took the bus to the Vatican.

Pope Francis has always had strong solidarity with the people, despite being the leader of the largest institution in the world. He stands alongside others and serves the poor. He connects young people across the world and builds community, including everyone, and he addresses issues that are often overlooked because they affect the most marginalised in society.

I admire Pope Francis as he encourages people into service and justice to live out their faith more fully. I would like to try to follow these leadership characteristics. 

Dilara Wijesinghe: Academic Captain

Why did you apply for a leadership position?

I love being involved in the many academic activities at the College, and I am passionate about supporting my peers. I was also encouraged to apply for this position after seeing the previous leaders and being inspired by the way they helped other girls, the contribution they made, and how they gave back to the College.

What do you hope to achieve in your new leadership role?

As Academic Captain, I hope to be able to implement many different opportunities for mentor/mentee relationships to be formed and make every girl feel as if they have the support system required to help them achieve their academic goals. I would love to promote the idea that teaching and supporting others is a way of learning and that it is often more beneficial to work towards goals as a group, rather than just the individual.

I hope to encourage students to participate in the many opportunities given to us within and beyond the College. I am a strong believer that whatever goal you have, is fully achievable with the right support and motivation. I believe that everyone has the potential to achieve their personal best and that no goal is too big. 

What experience do you bring to this role?

I have taken part in many of the academic opportunities on offer at the College, such as the academic triathlon, public speaking, and the Tournament of Minds. I’ve loved participating in these and forming relationships with girls who share similar interests and passions as me.

Throughout my time at school, I’ve developed many different habits and have learned how to maintain a work/life balance. However, I am still learning every day, and I always try to find new ways to improve how effective my study is. I hope to be able to find and share new ways of working smarter with my peers. 

Who is a leader that you admire?

I admire Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was the second female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. For women, she was one of the most important legal advocates in history, and she changed the way the law sees gender.

I admire her because of her dedication to serving the public, her resilience, and her unwavering devotion to what she does. She was profoundly dedicated and used her voice and position to make beneficial changes to members of her community and make a long-lasting impact on the world

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