WHITNEY Houston once sang the iconic lines “I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way.”
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This was the driving concept behind the inaugural Port Stephens School Leaders’ Morning Tea.
Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington invited student leaders, staff and principals from each of the twenty-six schools in the area to join her in a morning tea aimed to promote community leadership and personal growth.
An overwhelming response saw twenty-four of the schools able to attend the event, sending 130 students and 40 staff members to the Raymond Terrace Bowling Club.
Paralympian and Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch attended as the guest speaker.
Ms Tesch spoke of her journey from young New Zealand girl to Australian Paralympian.
Describing the day she was selected for the Australian Wheelchair Basketball team Ms Tesch said, “There is life with a disability, this is about possibility.”
Promoting leadership and personal connections Ms Tesch took the students out of their comfort zone and had them interact with students from every other school.
Ms Tesch’s message for the student leaders was to get active and get involved in their local communities, make a difference by making a stand for what they are passionate about.
Ms Tesch told the students, “I encourage you to live outside the box, I encourage you to talk everyone and fight for what you believe in.”
The student leaders responded with great enthusiasm and gratitude.
Medowie Christian High School Captain, Zane Munro said “Liesel was enthusiastically inspiring, speaking from a personal zeal for success through whatever trials.”
Many teachers expressed a strong appreciation for the opportunity.
Principal of Salt Ash Public School, Ms Holly Deguara told News Of The Area, “It was a great opportunity for the school leaders from around our local area to come together to meet each other and share this experience with.”
“To listen to Leisl share her story with our young people is truly inspiring.”
Principal of Tomaree Public School, Ms Christene King said, “To see the leaders of our wonderful schools all in one place is nothing short of amazing.”
“Leadership is demonstrated in so many ways and in so many forms and it is fantastic to see the leadership of these young people celebrated in such a positive way.”
While this is the first event of its type in the area, Ms Washington has a strong vision for future events of a similar kind.
Ms Washington spoke of the many wonderful opportunities she gets every year with the schools.
She said, “Today is about making the connections across schools and across communities.”
“Today is about learning how to be a better leader, and what works for you.”
“The most important thing as a leader is to listen.”
For many students this was their first official representational duty as a student leader and one that can help guide them through their year ahead.
By Kelly MAY