The beginning of the 2018/2019 school year commenced for students on the 31st of August 2018. With a new year and new goals, systems and ideas were being rolled out and set in place for the upcoming year. One of the new systems to our school was the Student Leaders system which replaces the old prefect system. In previous years, a student put their name forward if they wanted to take on the role of prefect and their follow classmates voted. Two students were selected to fulfil the role in each tutor class. The new Student leader system took a new approach to selecting students, which entailed students applying for the role via application form. The students were then chosen through consultation between the tutors, principal and management. For the first time in OCC, two Head Students were appointed also.
There were lots of different qualities expected for Student Leaders. Excellent attendance and reliability are key qualities of a Student Leader as the school needs candidates who are physically there to count on day in and day out to carry out the tasks. Respectfulness and looking out for others are also main priorities on the list.
The main roles of a Student leader for both Junior and Senior are: wiping the board before class begins, making sure the chairs are put up when they are needed, putting up the blinds at the end of the class and or day, doing errands etc. Student Leaders asked all their teachers at the beginning of the year if they would like specific things carried out to assist the teaching and learning. Senior Leaders are timetabled to supervise first years in their locker rooms for 10 minutes per week and to clean the lunch tables after that supervision. As well as that, each senior leader is responsible for a younger year group of leaders.
As a whole group of Student Leaders, we received training at the beginning of the year. We learned the key characteristics needed to be a good leader and how we can improve our leaderships and communication skills.
As wellbeing is a key element of the new Junior Cycle, our school focused on promoting one indicator per week for six weeks. The Student Leaders took on to run “Connected Week” and during that week we organised many different lunchtime activities to promote being connected as a school community. We set challenges for students and their families to complete at home like playing a board game with their families or putting away their mobiles and talking to their family about what they did that day and how their day went. The Student Leaders also taught their SPHE class that week and showed them a power point on the benefits of being connected and on how it improves everyone’s wellbeing. We also participated in the Concern Fast and connected with our communities and the wider world through this fundraiser.
Most recently, we are involved in promoting and raising funds for the group Cycle Against Suicide. We are organising a Bake Sale, as well as a Spinathon, involving the whole school and the wider community. We aim to promote positive mental health as much as we can and we recognise the key benefits of exercise and teamwork to good mental health.
As a group of Student Leaders, we understand that we must model the values that are important to promote in our school and we enjoy working alongside the staff and the wider community to make students’ time in OCC as beneficial as possible.