STUDENT school leaders of 2020 in primary and high schools across Port Stephens gathered at Hunter River High School on Monday, 24 February to celebrate their leadership positions.
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Organised and hosted by Member for Port Stephens Ms Kate Washington MP, the leaders were welcomed by the Wanga Gee Dancers and listened to an inspiring speech on leadership by Dr Kelvin Kong.
Speaking to the student leaders, Ms Washington said, “My favourite thing to do is see the young school leaders.”
“Education is the biggest difference you can make in your life.”
“In Port Stephens we have amazing schools.”
“I’m privileged to visit schools and see what’s happening.”
“One of the most important roles of a leader is to support and encourage others to become leaders as well.”
Guest speaker at the event, Dr Kelvin Kong, one of three Aboriginal surgeons in Australia inspired the audience with his experiences growing up local to the area.
He also discussed the positive and negative influences of social media and how school leaders can be positives influencers and role models for their peers.
Dr Kong went to Shoal Bay Public School and was school captain of Nelson Bay High School.
He now works as a surgeon and is a conjoint Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle.
His research interests involve the power education has on students when they are healthy enough to be able to participate.
Dr Kong works for part of each year in remote communities in the area of reducing ear disease and hearing loss.
He has previously said in an interview with the University of Newcastle, “When we work together with a community, we can address all the issues that arise from ear disease.”
“Our job is to improve kids’ health so they can get the education they need.”
Such is his personable nature that many of the school leaders flocked to him during the morning tea break and one primary school student leader reminded Dr Kong that he had operated on him in his capacity as an ENT surgeon.
By Heather SHARP