Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023
The students joined more than 1700 students from throughout Canterbury and the West Coast at the event in the Christchurch Town Hall, which had the theme, ‘Leading the Self’. This tied in beautifully with the curriculum key competency, managing self, says Year 8 Team Leader, Morgan Sheppard. “Being able to manage ourselves is one of the first ways we show leadership. If we want others to trust and believe in us as leaders, we must trust and believe in ourselves.”
The National Young Leaders Day is a well-established programme aimed at developing leadership skills in young individuals. It includes motivational talks, question time, videos, music, and interactive activities, allowing students to engage with and learn from leaders in various fields, whose aim is to motivate, inspire, educate, and connect them.
Among the notable speakers at the Christchurch event was Brad Smeele, a quadriplegic former professional wakeboarder, who has overcome tremendous challenges. His story resonated with the students, with Connor McIntosh (Year 8) saying, “I enjoyed hearing Brad Smeele speak and his positive outlook on life after he suffered a horrific, life-changing injury. His message to never give up and stay positive had a big impact on me.”
Graci Kim, a diplomat, turned New York Times bestselling author, also captivated the young audience. Maja Clark and Lila Cook (both Year 8) said they loved Graci’s message.
“She told us to keep trying and never give up. You have to try all the ice cream flavours because sometimes you don’t know what will happen unless you give it a go. We found her really inspiring!”
Lively MCs kept the day running smoothly, and the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the ‘Briscoes Lady’, with the response from the audience resembling Beatlemania, says Morgan.
Mental wellness communicator, Julia Grace, also spoke to the students, and the day concluded with a talk and performance by musician, Georgia Lines, who shared her personal journey from attending the National Young Leaders Day as a 12-year-old to becoming a recording artist. “Georgia sang one of her own songs, then a cover of the Miley Cyrus song, Flowers, which turned into a great big singalong, ending the day with happiness and joy.”
This was the fourth time the Year 8 prefects have attended National Young Leaders Day, and the students were grateful for the opportunity to learn from remarkable individuals and witness first-hand the power of leadership, says Morgan. “The students really loved the day. It reminded them that leadership begins with self-management, and they have the potential to make a positive impact throughout their schooling, in the community, and beyond.”