Young leaders come together to share ideas

Issue: Volume 96, Number 17

Posted: 22 September 2017
Reference #: 1H9ex8

Inspired by an international experience, student leaders organised an event to get their peers talking about big issues.

A recent international conference lit a spark for young leaders from Auckland’s Mission Heights Junior College (MHJC).

Members of the school’s student executive council travelled to Singapore earlier this year to attend the 23rd Student Leaders Convention.

They returned buzzing with ideas after exploring various topics ranging from cyber wellness to elitism and racial discrimination.

The overarching theme of the conference was ‘Amity – achieve as one,’ and students worked in groups to brainstorm big ideas, which they then delivered in presentations the following day.

Inspired by this experience, the MHJC student council hosted their own leadership conference, which took place at the school on 8 September.

The first ever Junior Leaders Convention in New Zealand, the event was planned and executed entirely by the students themselves.

The event followed a similar format to the global conference and students from Albany Junior High School, Ormiston Junior College in Flat Bush and Rototuna Junior High School from Hamilton, travelled to MHJC to work their way through five themes:

  • Education – critical thinking, relying on digital devices.
  • Cultural preservation – why is it dying?
  • Technological restraints – robots, employment.
  • Humanising mental health.
  • Youth contribution and involvement.

In the last session of the day, solutions were delivered through group presentations.

MHJC principal Ian Morrison and the leaders of the visiting schools also participated, critiquing the day’s work and applauding the suggested initiatives.

Year 10 student Camryn Chetty is a member of the executive council as well as the student representative on the school’s board of trustees.

She found it very inspiring that a group of students from junior colleges could come together and formulate such in-depth and unique solutions to issues affecting her age group in New Zealand and globally.

“It’s been amazing meeting and working with other students and we’re staying connected through social media. The best outcome is that this first event will continue annually,” she says.

Student voices

“It was extremely rewarding to take our learning from the global perspective [Singapore conference] to our own nation and develop thinking on relevant themes that some students may have never considered before. Everyone in the group contributed and everyone’s ideas were valued. I found it easier to work with focus having gained this broader experience. It gave me a greater appreciation for the perspective of others.”

– Duncan Lane, year 10.

“It felt like the youth of New Zealand were all coming together, sharing ideas and collaborating on what it means to be a teen in this country. I felt very proud seeing my group presenting and knowing they had moved from thinking ‘surface level’ to thinking more critically about the topics.”

 – Leanne Te Boekhorst, year 10. 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:47 am, 22 September 2017

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