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Shaping Future Leaders- Jennifer Oaten

At Santa Maria College, we believe that leadership is a journey of learning, not just a title or position. For over 80 years, our Year 12 students have been at the forefront of shaping our school’s culture through their leadership. As one cohort graduates and another takes the helm, the baton of leadership is passed, igniting the potential within each new group of young women.

We foster a culture where our leaders understand the ‘why’ behind their actions, anchoring their leadership in purpose. They recognise that their contributions have a profound impact on our community, enhancing College life in myriad ways. From our Year 6 leaders to our Year 12 Student Leadership Council, I am continually inspired by the potential of our young women to become the change-makers our world needs.

In the following sections, we will explore the key attributes we nurture in our student leaders at Santa Maria College. We recognise that each leader begins their journey at a different starting point, and no one is expected to possess all these qualities from the outset. What sets our leaders apart is their willingness to accept feedback, learn, and continuously develop these attributes throughout their leadership journey. By fostering a growth mindset and providing a supportive environment, we empower our young women to embrace the challenges and opportunities of leadership, preparing them to become the change-makers our world needs.

Leadership as Service

Leadership is fundamentally about serving others. An effective leader understands that their role is to support, guide, and uplift their peers. This means prioritising the needs of the school community and working selflessly towards the common good. When leaders view their positions as opportunities to serve rather than dominate, they foster a culture of mutual respect and cooperation. Service-oriented leadership encourages inclusivity, ensures that all voices are heard, and addresses the diverse needs of the student body.

Developing Relationships

Building strong, positive relationships is crucial for effective leadership. Leaders must be approachable, empathetic, and capable of understanding different perspectives. By cultivating genuine connections with peers, teachers, and other members of the school community, leaders create an environment of trust and collaboration. Effective communication is at the heart of these relationships, allowing leaders to convey their vision, listen actively, and respond constructively to feedback. We promote to our students the importance of listening more than speaking. It is in these moments that ideas flourish, solutions emerge, and voices that often go unheard are amplified. By listening, our young women learn, adapt, and evolve, allowing them to give every member of our community a voice. Strong relationships also enable leaders to mediate conflicts and foster a supportive and cohesive community.

Being a Role Model

As a leader, your actions speak louder than words. Being a role model means exemplifying the values and behaviours you wish to see in others. We hope our leaders will live our Mercy values of Hospitality, Compassion, Justice, Service and Excellence. This includes demonstrating integrity, responsibility, and respect in all interactions. A leader who consistently upholds high standards sets a positive example for their peers to follow. By embodying the principles of hard work, dedication, and ethical behaviour, leaders inspire others to strive for excellence and maintain a positive school culture.

Taking Action

Effective leaders are proactive and take initiative. They do not wait for opportunities to come to them; instead, they actively seek out ways to make a difference. Leaders who take action demonstrate their commitment to progress and their willingness to put in the effort required to achieve their goals. This proactive approach encourages others to get involved and contributes to a dynamic and responsive school environment. The notion of empowerment is deeply embedded in our leadership philosophy. We encourage our students to be catalysts to involve others, utilising their talents and skills. They are taught to seek help, delegate with trust, and celebrate the creative spirit within their teams. By recognising and harnessing the diversity of talents within their peers, our leaders are able to achieve their goals.

Showing Courage

Leadership often requires courage – courage to make difficult decisions, stand up for what is right, and face challenges head-on. Effective leaders are not afraid to take risks or confront adversity. Courageous leaders inspire confidence and motivate others to persevere through tough times. By showing bravery, they create a culture of resilience and determination within the school community. Leadership demands courage – the bravery to stand for one’s beliefs, the perseverance to continue, and the boldness to voice ideas.


At Santa Maria, we are proud to be a catalyst for nurturing future leaders, innovators, and trailblazers. By embracing opportunities to develop their skills and passions within our supportive environment, our young women gain the mindsets, confidence, and abilities to lead fearlessly in any arena they choose.

As our graduates step beyond our gates, I am filled with hope and excitement for the impact they will make. I believe they will shatter glass ceilings, challenge the status quo, and boldly forge new paths for generations to come. They will redefine leadership, ushering in an era marked by authenticity, empathy, and courageous advocacy.

In the hands of our Santa Maria graduates lies the power to transform not just our school but the world itself. We are honoured to play a role in shaping these future leaders, and we watch with great anticipation as they step forward to make their mark.

Equipping Our Year 10 Students for the Future

Santa Maria College’s Future10 Program empowers Year 10 students with comprehensive guidance for academic and career planning. Through personalised course counselling, resources like the Learn Curriculum Handbook, and interactive events such as the Course Expo, students gain clarity and confidence in their subject choices. The program fosters a collaborative approach involving parents, teachers, and external representatives, ensuring students are well-prepared for their future pathways.

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the Winter Appeal and Outreach Mass at Santa Maria College.

Term 2 – Empowering Students and Community – Jennifer Oaten

As we conclude another remarkable term at Santa Maria College, we celebrate the myriad achievements and growth of our students. Term 2 was filled with empowering opportunities, from faith-based activities and learning innovations to social awareness projects and community engagements, embodying our Mercy values and commitment to excellence.

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