Last week saw the conclusion of the Pillars Student Leadership Program for 2020. The program provided opportunities for students to reflect on their personal gifts and how Dominican values influence their leadership approach. They engaged in a variety of skill building workshops targeted to different year levels, including goal setting, teamwork, motivation, resilience and communication.
Over 150 students from Years 7 to 11 participated in the program this year, which was tailored to meet the needs of differing year levels, and prepare them for leadership opportunities within the Siena College Community and beyond.
This year, a number of Senior Student Leadership Program graduates volunteered to take on the role of ‘Senior Student Leadership Mentor’, and worked with students in the Years 7 to 9 Student Leadership Program. Our mentors put their learnings into practice, and facilitated discussions and group activities, whilst offering advice and encouragement from their own leadership perspectives and experiences.
“Being a part of the Pillars Leadership Program has made me realise that leadership is a skill that I can learn and develop. I now understand that there is no ‘cookie cutter’ definition of a leader, and it is important to be yourself, share your ideas and encourage others. The Pillars Leadership Program expressed the importance of the fact that being a leader is more than the label and the badge, it is about being a role model for other students and acting to create change. One of the ideas that resonated with me the most was the importance of sharing and combining one another’s ideas, as teamwork is essential to a great leadership group. I think that these skills will impact my leadership approach as I will always remember the importance of being myself when leading others.”
Ciara Newman, Year 9
“By participating in the Pillars Leadership Program I have gained important knowledge and skills that are vital in leadership. I have learnt strategies and tips that will influence my leadership not only for my time at school but for my life outside the walls of Siena College. The program taught me how important communication is when aiming to achieve goals and working with others, which is a major part of leadership. The sessions also helped me to understand how you must be a leader for the people and trust and support your team members. I will take onboard the strategies such as the workflow planner and the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. goal formula along with the many other important pieces of advice as they will help assist me to becoming a great leader and the best person I can be.”
Sophie Birrell, Year 9
“The Pillars Leadership Program has influenced me to play more into my strengths of social intelligence and flexibility and be able to assist others and delegate tasks that play into their strengths, working as a team and using everyone’s talents. As a person I’m always changing and therefore my leadership style is also always adapting. Pillars has made me see that this is really helpful and something that I should use to my advantage, and be able to adapt to all challenges associated with leadership.”
Grace Hoy, Year 11
“I chose to volunteer as a Senior Student Leadership Mentor because I remember as a younger student going through the leadership process and valuing the advice, guidance and support I was given by senior student leaders and hoped that I would be able to offer some of that same experience to the junior students in their Pillars journey.
This experience allowed me to work more closely and form greater connections with younger girls and hear their perspectives and goals for the future as Siena student leaders. It also enabled me to reflect on my own leadership journey and all that I have learnt throughout my time at Siena and how am now able to use the skills that I have gained through programs, like Pillars, to engage with students across year levels and work collaboratively with them.”
Hayley Di Stefano, Year 11
“I chose to volunteer to be a Senior Student Leadership Mentor to attempt to apply what I have learnt in years of attending Pillars Programs, with students who have attended the Junior Pillars Program and might be new to the program.
What I’ve gained from this experience is being able to apply and learn new leadership skills, such as leading discussion groups, offering help and making sure everyone was able to share their ideas. I have also been able to learn more about the students in the younger levels by listening to their views, values and what being a leader means to them, which has been a very enjoyable experience for me.”
Cara Chen, Year 11