The start to the 2022 school year has been busy for Year 9 students!

With so many student leadership opportunities available to Year 9 girls this year, we have focused a great deal of energy on applications, interviews, speeches and training over the first couple of weeks, and there is still more to come!

Last week applicants for SRC were interviewed and shortlisted and six students presented speeches to the Year level on Tuesday. The speeches by the SRC nominees were all outstanding in both their matter and their manner. They reflected the maturity and understanding of young women who know that leadership is not just about wearing a badge, and that representing your peers requires more than a long list of achievements on your application. They spoke about the importance of empathy and listening to their peers, they recognised some of the challenges we face as well as the significance of student voice in addressing the needs of their year level and shaping change. They also admitted to feeling very nervous but were willing to take the risk of putting their hand up for a leadership position. The year level now has the difficult task of selecting two candidates only!

On Wednesday, developing leadership skills, in particular the ability to connect and communicate with others, was the focus during the morning sessions of the Year 9 Wellbeing Day. This leadership training included activities to develop potential involvement in the Peer Support Program by giving the Year 9 girls a taste of the sort of activities they could run, and by providing the girls with an opportunity to see if they would enjoy the challenge of being a Peer Support Leader. Students could then apply to be involved in Peer Support and successful candidates will undergo a further training session before working alongside Year 7 students to help them with transition.

The afternoon sessions during the Wellbeing Day focused on helping the students develop and maintain their friendships or relationships with others. The many restrictions due to COVID throughout 2020 and 2021 limited the ability of everyone, particularly young people, to socialise and develop the skills that come from being with others. As such the sessions aimed to define good and positive relationships and highlight some of the challenges that can occur in relationships, along with ways to manage them.

This is what the students said about the Year 9 Wellbeing Day:

Catherine: Throughout Wellbeing Day, I enjoyed learning more about relationships. How fragile and important a relationship can be, we learnt about how relationships can be difficult, and sometimes the resolution is to move away from the friendship. Other relationships, can be positive, and make you feel uplifted. However, I learned that if I'm not comfortable in the relationship, I have people I trust that I can talk to.

Romaine: Wellbeing Day was a great chance to meet some new Loretians and reconnect with some girls who were in my Year 7 class. We learned so much about active listening, being a leader, and what it takes to be involved in Peer Support. We also had a chance to discuss what it means to be a good friend and how to use this in our own lives. Overall the day was a great break from our regular school work, and a great chance to learn some new real life skills.

Maria: Wellbeing Day.... to me it first sounded boring; but in all seriousness, this day has taught me many things. Being a leader isn't just about having authority, but a true leader makes an effort to help develop their team's skills so they can reach their full potential. Not only did I leave those school gates with my head high knowing I actually realised the importance of a true leader, but I also walked out knowing I had created many relationships with new people. I've always been a confident and kind person, but did I really understand the importance of listening? No. Wellbeing Day has given me many opportunities and I will forever be grateful for the many fun lessons I learnt.

Edie: The Wellbeing Day was a good opportunity to mix with other Year 9s in the Peer Support Training Program. I also had a really fun time learning about what a good and bad friendship is.

Sarah Nash
Year 9 Coordinator