Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    From the Principal

    Article by Mr Michael Exton

    St Ignatius - inspiring me to be a leader

    One of our College mantras is – “St Ignatius – inspiring me to be a leader.” Saint Ignatius, the person, provides a role model of and a way of leadership and Saint Ignatius, our College, offers opportunities to develop our young women and men as leaders.

    At Saint Ignatius College Geelong, the development of life-long leadership skills is one of the learning opportunities offered to all students. Students are expected to develop their leadership qualities and skills. The quality of this leadership is vital to creating a school environment:

    • where students demonstrate pride in and loyalty to their College;
    • that is conducive to and enhances student involvement and achievement; and
    • that ultimately leads to our College vision of forming women and men for others.

    As well as having effective students in formal leadership positions, having as many students as possible demonstrating positive and constructive leadership in their day to day interactions and work practices supports the development of responsible behaviours, a positive school tone and encourages students to model the College’s values of respect, responsibility, resilience, service and excellence.

    The philosophy of leadership at Saint Ignatius College Geelong is built on the principles of Ignatian leadership, drawing on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. These principles are very much in keeping with modern leadership theory today. Two of the fundamental principles are as follows.

    Firstly, we believe that the Servant leadership model of leadership is fundamental to an Ignatian school. Our vision is that students will value leadership through service and advocate for others, particularly those most in need. This will work to build a just society where all people can live to their full potential. Students will confidently and courageously make choices that reflect servant leadership throughout their lives.

    And the second principle is that all have the potential to be leaders, regardless of whether they hold a particular title or designated leadership position. All students, through their daily academic classes, contribution to service programs, involvement in co-curricular programs such as sport, music, drama and public-speaking, are encouraged to be positive and to demonstrate leadership.

    In developing student leadership, we are working in partnership with parents. I encourage parents to provide opportunities and encourage their daughters/sons to develop their leadership qualities and skills. I am well aware of many examples where families are doing this so well and offer the following more as encouragement and reinforcement of a shared vision for our students. I recently came across the following points (Ref. – “Principals’ Digests,” Vol. 24, No. 11) for parents on “How you can motivate children to lead:”

    • Appeal to their sense of adventure;
    • Set a consistent example of good character and moral principles;
    • Listen with enjoyment to their ideas and dreams;
    • Say “I am proud of you”;
    • Encourage their unique qualities;
    • Give them opportunities to serve and lead others;
    • Include everyone;
    • Find the gaps in their lives and help them fill them;
    • Help them make their own decisions;
    • Help them make wise decisions;
    • Challenge but don’t overwhelm;
    • Teach the true rewards like satisfaction with a job well done; and
    • Show them that leadership is fun and can take many forms.

    One the strategic actions we have taken to support the development of student leadership was the appointment of a Student Leadership Development Coordinator. I am very grateful for the work of Mr Anthony Gravener is this role.

    Finally, it is important to me that our College culture is characterised by high-quality student leadership based on service. I want this so that we have the best learning environment for our school community and that we ultimately better form young women and men of competence, conscience and compassion who will be women and men for others.

    Michael Exton


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