Make a Difference
The College’s S6 pupils enjoyed an inspiring few days in Brathay Hall on the banks of Lake Windermere during an annual Leadership Course at the start of term, and since then, the senior Aloysians have been using their Leadership skills for the benefit of others, working as Academic mentors for younger pupils and helping staff organise and run school events.
In typical Aloysian style, Grainne McGinn of S6 reflected on the Leadership Course in an insightful, humorous and honest way, and you can read and enjoy her thoughts below.
We are all Leaders - Grainne McGinn S6
There's something quite peculiar about being the oldest students in the school. Sixth year feels final. We're veterans, experienced in every task that is thrown our way. We have been here so long that we believe we've seen it all. Or at least I thought that before embarking on this year's leadership course.
" ...the new announcement of my team's best time. 12.17 seconds - not far off the proudest achievement of my life!"
The challenges we faced on the Leadership Course weren't easy, they were built to test our physical and mental capabilities and one task in particular caught me off guard; product assembly, a 3D wooden puzzle with the quite real intention of driving you insane. I may have been able to believe I'd seen it all until I had witnessed the fit of uncontrollable passion, enthusiasm and sheer blood boiling desperation that mere wood planks had set us off into on the first night – and yes, that is no exaggeration. Ten minutes into the challenge I found myself bouncing on the spot, unable to contain my sheer excitement and anticipation for the new announcement of my team's best time. 12.17 seconds, not far off the proudest achievement of my life! We erupted with joy when told, jumping, hugging, smiles stretched wide across our faces. We had won.
"It was a very gratifying thing to watch, a group of people who aren't necessarily close supporting each other unconditionally."
The other activities also resonated among my group - especially the high ropes. Although I couldn't do much of the high ropes course, my team ensured that regardless of what I could or couldn't do, I would enjoy myself. I watched in amusement as Keir carried a wet floor sign - our so-called team mascot - all around the course, barely managing to stay on due to his lack of grip. I also observed Jaynie and Flora cheering as Niamh braved one of the most difficult sections of the course; their support was overwhelming. Then when I first stepped onto the wire I was consumed by encouragement and praise, desperately holding on for dear life all I could mutter out in response was "Am I allowed to swear?" Everyone in the group was supportive, making jokes and contributing. It was a very gratifying thing to watch, a group of people who aren't necessarily close supporting each other unconditionally.
"Each individual of my team contributed to each task in unique and different ways. We each led each other by encouraging, praising and critiquing our efforts."
After experiences like this I like to take some time to reflect, it took me a while to fully grasp what the Leadership Course was meant to be about. Originally I believed that the goal of the course was to turn us all into leaders however, it's now becoming clear that the Leadership Course wasn't meant to make you into a leader, but to help you understand that you already are one. Each individual of my team contributed to each task in unique and different ways. We each led each other by encouraging, praising and critiquing our efforts. We know now that a team cannot function without everyone using their own talents and ideas. I was worried that because I couldn't get involved in every activity that I would let the team down but they quickly slapped sense into me. As I said on the second day "It is possible to take part without actually taking part." At the time I was joking but after some thought I believe I was somewhat correct. I was referring to someone’s ability to contribute through encouragement and giving different perspectives. If I learnt anything from this experience it's that everyone is a leader in their own way, it's about utilising the skills we already have!