Student Leadership – Jennifer Oaten

Student Leadership – Jennifer Oaten

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, stated the following.

‘One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.’

Our Mission is ‘Educating young Mercy women who act with courage and compassion, to enrich our world.”

I congratulate all our 2022 Year 12 leaders announced earlier this week. I encourage them to be inspired by Jacinda Ardern’s words and to lead with our Mission in mind.  To lead with courage and compassion.

I also acknowledge those girls who have shown great courage by applying for a leadership position but were unsuccessful on this occasion. In my eyes, all Year 12s are leaders, and I encourage all girls to lead by example and take up the additional leadership opportunities presented to them during their Year 12 year.

What does it mean to be a great student leader?

We want our girls to be confident leaders who accomplish much, but we also want them to be true to their values and stand by what is important to them. This is the key to being a successful leader.

A great student leader at Santa Maria College shows:

  • Commitment to our Mercy values in their actions and words
  • Preparedness to serve others and to take action to make a difference
  • Inclusivity of all students enabling all to have a voice
  • Respect for others, treating them with dignity and compassion
  • Willingness to listen to the students they represent
  • Courage to stand up for what is right and just
  • Humility and willingness to learn and grow as a leader

Leaders must not underestimate the power of listening. Listening is an essential part of communication, and a good leader knows how to listen well.

Why is student leadership important in education?

Leadership is about the art of motivating, influencing, and supporting people to work together to achieve team goals. Our students have the tools to change the world. An education, opinions and a voice are needed for effective leadership, and the world needs our girls to be the next generation of leaders.

If our girls are to be the next CEOs, chairpersons or take on any leadership role, they need opportunities to develop the necessary skills. No one is born with all the essential leadership qualities, and schools provide a great environment to commence this journey in a safe, supportive environment.

Students need to learn the art of building relationships within teams, establishing goals, developing the confidence to speak and learning from the challenges of implementing initiatives or coordinating events.

“A leader … is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

What is the role of our student leaders?

We hope our student leaders will be shepherds who guide the student body, build connections between all community members, submit proposals for initiatives that will improve our College, and be the voice of the students. We hope they will lead by example, encourage participation and promote a sense of belonging and wellbeing in all year groups.

How do we support our leaders?

While students may have limited experience in leadership, they have great potential to bring about positive change in our community. Some of the ways we endeavour to develop leadership skills are by:

  • Sharing leadership stories of role models
  • Providing development opportunities both at school and in the community
  • Mentoring by a staff member
  • Leadership workshops and speakers

As Principal, I am constantly learning and developing my skills as a leader. Great leaders never stop learning. As this exciting journey begins for our 2022 leaders and Year 12 students, I encourage all of you to embrace all opportunities available, enjoy your time leading and be the best leader you can possibly be. 

Remember….. anything is possible!

Introducing the 2022 Student Leadership Team

It gives us great pleasure to introduce the Class of 2022 Student Leadership Council. The girls are excited about their new roles which will commence in Term 4


Head Girl
Deputy Head Girl
Head Boarder
Deputy Head Boarder

Elouise Parsons
Alicia Tory
Sarah Currell
Bronwyn Goss

Portfolio Positions

Academic Captain
Eco Justice Captain
Liturgy Captain
Media Captain
Music Captain
Performing Arts Captain
Service Captain
Sports Captain
Visual Arts Captain
Wellbeing Captain

Niyumi (Dilara) Wijesinghe
Brooke Murphy
Niamh Smithies
Zoe Bolden
Lucy Dal Molin
Olivia Taliangis
Abby Young
Alli Nokes
Natalie Loach
Karin Boulton

House Captains

de la Hoyde

Sigrid Hall & Lexi Oliver
Lucy Collins & Mia Fogden
Skye Letizia & Katherine Denner
Samantha Halliday & April Lea
Ashlee Chafer & Scarlett Weaver
Lilly Blair & Jorja Reeve
Siena Monck & Sienna Patane
Kaia Spark & Grace Peacock

Boarding Councillors

Abbey Simkin
Emmi Duff
Eliza Treasure

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