Honouring the positives and teaching children how to be leaders

“Which is the proper path in life that a person should choose?
Any path that brings honour to himself as well as to others”

Ethics of the Fathers 2:1

As we launch our new High School Merit System, I would like to take the opportunity to honour our Moriah menschen and reflect on the positive growth of student leadership in the High School.

High School Merit System Explained

The new High School Merit system has been designed to acknowledge the students who consistently go above and beyond as they strive to exemplify our College values. Often, these great citizens are quiet achievers, students of character and integrity who can be relied upon to do the right thing, to be a good friend to their peers and be supportive of others. We look forward to recognising their contribution to the culture of the College at our formal Prize Giving and Award Assemblies.

Parents, please keep an eye on the daily digest from eLY, where you will learn of any Merits your child has earned.

Promoting Student Voice

Most of us know the old saying, “children should be seen and not heard”. At Moriah, we believe the opposite is true; our students often have meaningful and important views to share, and we want to hear them.

We have worked to promote student voice at the College by restructuring our Student Leadership Council (SLC) so that we can offer more opportunities for all of our High School students to demonstrate initiative, and step into leadership roles in a range of different activities throughout the High School.

As you will know, our annual Pink Breakfast event is organised by a dedicated team of students who do not hold formal leadership positions.  Each year, senior students lead teams comprising students from younger years who all work together to raise money and support for both the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Jewish Women’s Breast Cancer Network.

This year, the Committee responsible for coordinating the event successfully expanded it to include a week of activities to encourage the involvement of male students and staff members in the lead-up to the Pink Breakfast. After months of planning, the breakfast itself was the biggest yet, with over 550 tickets sold and over $20,000 raised.

Another opportunity for our students to step into leadership roles is as part of our newly-formed Student Wellbeing Committee, which recently introduced our inaugural ‘Mental Health Awareness’ week initiative. Activities culminated in a very moving assembly last Friday.

During the assembly, we also heard from a variety of students on a number of topics, including:

  • a team of students and staff members who were preparing to run the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon on Sunday in honour of an ex-Moriah student and wonderful young English teacher, Ms Freiberg. You can read more about the teams here;
  • a group of Year 11 students who spoke about the importance of standing up for what you believe in. Their particularly effective presentation focused on climate change, and the students quoted Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize: “I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”
    The students illustrated the urgency of the issue of climate change by referencing worrying recent reports that koalas may soon be functionally extinct in areas of Australia, and focusing upon damage to the Great Barrier Reef caused by coral bleaching due to warmer water temperatures. This point was reinforced by the Year 12 students who followed on with a report on their visit to the reef as part of their Geography studies.
  • And, lastly, we heard a moving tribute to Bob Hawke, drafted overnight and delivered by one of our Year 11 students. This address honoured the impact of Hawke’s work in shaping Australia as we know it today, his many achievements, his absolute authenticity and his advocacy and support of Israel.

TEDx Youth @MoriahCollege

In closing, I would like to acknowledge another exciting initiative that has been the product of determined efforts by our current Student Leadership Council – Moriah College has been registered as an official TEDx Youth affiliate.

The initial ticket launch for this event was sold out in a matter of hours and a further ticket release is planned for this week. 

We congratulate the leaders for what they have achieved throughout their year in office and, as we begin the process of electing our 2019-20 SLC, I would like to acknowledge the manner in which they have conducted themselves and their commitment to supporting the growth of a genuinely distributed model of leadership throughout the school. Without their understanding of the importance of providing opportunities for others and their generosity of spirit, this would not have been possible.

About the Author
Jan Hart is the Head of High School at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.


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