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David Quan: A chat with JS Captains

The influence of our Junior School Captains cannot be underestimated. Arriving at Saints in 2013 as a Year 7 student, I was fortunate to be welcomed into the community by the then Junior School Captain, Rory Adams. His kindness, understanding and confidence in all our conversations and interactions helped me to quickly settle into this new environment. We consequently became great life-long friends.

This year, Charlie Bruce and Joey Fitzgerald, both outstanding candidates, now hold the important position of Captain and Vice-Captain respectively. They are highly regarded by the student-body and I thought it would be valuable to allow them to share some unique insights into their journey and their leadership roles in the form of a Q&A:

To start off, Charlie and Joey, when did you both start attending Saints?
Charlie: I started my time at Saints in Year 2.
Joey: I have been at Saints since ELC.

What were the processes to becoming a JS Captain?
Charlie: Last year, we had an opportunity to nominate ourselves to become a school leader. There was a voting and interview process with Mr Hine to shortlist a group of six students. It was an exciting moment for me, Joey and our families when it was announced on Speech Day.

It is certainly a wonderful achievement to be recognised as leaders of the JS by your own peers and staff. Everyone leads differently, how would you characterise your own style of leadership?
Charlie: Some of the most important qualities come from our 24-character strengths which I believe a good leader needs to show. Some of the most important characteristics are kindness to others and also respect of our peers. I also think it is important to show gratitude towards teachers and other students. Being inclusive of all boys you need to be a friend to make a friend, so being nice is also important. I also feel I show a very important strength of bravery for when I need to stand in front of a large number of boys and staff and speak publicly.

Joey: As a leader it is important to show  character strengths through the things you do. I feel that the most important character strength to show as a leader is kindness, but you should not just direct it all towards the teachers. You need to be able to show equal kindness to all members of the Junior School community, no matter who they are. I believe that I am a kind, helpful leader, who is always prepared to help others and get involved in activities all around the Junior School.

What responsibilities does your leadership role carry?
Joey: Charlie and I signed a contract outlining all the important guidelines to be a Junior School leader. Some of the responsibilities include showing respect to boys and teachers, being a role model to the younger boys in the Junior School and having a positive attitude at all times, whether you are in the playground or in the classroom. On top of this, we have to represent the school at a variety of School functions and assemblies.

Well if that’s the case, Joey, you’re both doing a magnificent job! Charlie, what’s happening in the JS recently?
Charlie: There’s never a dull moment in the JS! Just this term, we have welcomed the new Head of Junior School, Mrs Taylor, began winter sports and named the three new chooks Popcorn, Alberta Eggstein and Sheila! Looking into the near future, we have the much-anticipated Annual Concert, Anglican Charities Day (a fundraising event for Anglicare) as well as the Camp Quality Morning Tea. This is an organisation that supports children that are impacted by cancer and we have an even better reason to support this with one of our classmates, Evan Nguyen, Year 6, being diagnosed recently. It is a cause very close to all of our hearts.

That’s certainly a touching and relevant cause for us all to come together. With a new Head of Junior School,  Mrs Taylor, Charlie, what’s your first impression of her?
Charlie: Mrs Taylor is a very friendly, kind person who is going to be great for the Junior School and our wider community. Mrs Taylor brings with her much experience from working internationally and it is going to be exciting to see what changes she makes at Saints. We are also excited about welcoming Mrs Taylor’s son Henry into Year 6 in Term 3 this year.

I’m sure she will contribute greatly. Speaking of changes, has there been a surprise this year within the JS?
Joey: Yes! My biggest surprise this year has been the changes made in assemblies by Mr Kolpak. It is more interactive, dynamic and student-focused. All the boys have loved seeing their pictures on the screen during assemblies.

What about a highlight then?
Charlie: One of the special highlights of the year so far has been welcoming Dr Richard Harris SC OAM (FLL ’81) to Saints to speak to the Junior School and being asked to do the Welcome to Country. Dr Harris talked about the challenges that he faced when committing to going into the Thai cave to save the 14 boys and coach. Joey and I were fortunate enough to be able to ask Dr Harris a question when he spoke to the Junior School boys, so this was a big highlight for both of us.

Do you feel like the JS and SS can collaborate a bit more?
Joey: Yes, I definitely think that would be a great initiative. Perhaps we can have a buddy system where the Year 7s buddy with the Year 1s, 8s with 2s, up until the Year 12s and 6s. As well as this, maybe have a few more prefects around in the Junior School at lunchtimes to get to know all of the boys.

What do you like most about the the Junior School?
Charlie: The opportunities at our Junior School are boundless we are so fortunate to have excellent teachers; fabulous music and sports programs and other co-curricular activities are endless. I believe the Junior School produce respectful, polite students with good manners that are ready to embark on their Middle Years journey when it is time. It goes without saying our grounds are magnificent with no excuse for any boys to be lazy and not run around and explore what we have on offer at recess and lunchtime. We are stretched way beyond our learning ability every day which I believe is good for us as students to be challenged and not become bored with learning.

Are there any new ideas that you could think of for the JS?
Joey: As I said before, an idea may be a Junior School and Senior School buddy system, but as well as this, it may be a good idea to offer school sport options for boys in younger years. Although there may not be an inter-school competition for their age group, there could be an intra-school competition, where those younger boys who are keen to play certain sports can start training and playing matches from an earlier age. This would allow the younger boys even more co-curricular opportunities from earlier on and would also encourage more boys to participate in school sport.

Thank you, Charlie and Joey, wow! I think we all look forward to seeing your continuous positive influence within the JS for the remainder of 2019. Good luck!