We are thrilled to have Olivia Mann (Yr12 Cl) and Hudson Siebel (Yr12 M) representing GGS as School Captains in 2024. Light Blue spoke to Olivia and Hudson about the year ahead.
How have you settled into your new role as school captain? And was there a moment that it sunk in for you?
Olivia: It has been a very busy first term in the role, but I love to be kept busy and on my toes. The moment when the new role sunk in was when we delivered our first address to the Corio Campus community. Both Hudson and I spoke together, thanking Ned and Ellie for how they had led the School in 2023. Looking up at all my peers staring back at us made me realise how real this was.
Hudson: I’ve slowly been able to settle into the role of School Captain throughout Term 4. I have been extremely enthusiastic about the role and the challenges it brings. A moment this year where the role did begin to feel real for me was during the StepOut programme, working with my fellow prefects to create a lesson plan for Year 7 students. While helping out one of the Sport Captains, Sam Lalor, I was quizzed about the role of School Captain by an eager Year 7 student. This interaction brought to light the role I am in and the position of influence I have. It was a very surreal moment for me to be able to discuss my thoughts on leadership and give this student some guidance on how he could employ traits of leadership in his life.
What is your first memory of Geelong Grammar School?
Olivia: My very first memory of Geelong Grammar School would be when I was about 10 years old. Mum drove my brothers and I through the School, giving us a glimpse of the school she always talked about and the school we would hopefully one day attend. I don’t remember much except thinking “Wow, this school is massive!!” and then suddenly being eager to join Geelong Grammar School in Year 8.
What is your favourite place or space at Corio Campus, and why is it special to you?
Olivia: I have several places at Corio that I really love but my favourite space would definitely be the Clyde House courtyard. I have so many memories of spending lunches and afternoons in the sun with my friends, it’s always such a happy place where we all sit chatting and laughing. The Clyde garden is filled with many flowers and trees which make it so beautiful and relaxing to sit in.
Hudson: My favourite part of the School is the Chapel. Whilst life at the Corio Campus is filled with the pressures of school, sports and cocurricular activities, I find that the chapel provides a space that is the opposite of this. Morning chapel services often give me time to reflect on how everything is going, allowing me to slow down for a bit. Apart from this, I love spending time with my mates in Manifold. Having a strong connection with my house, I feel very at home and find time to relax there too.
The adventure education programme at the School has expanded significantly during your time at the School, and looks set to do so again in 2024. How important has this element of fun and adventure been for you during your time at GGS, providing that outlet away from the classroom?
Olivia: The Adventure Education programme the School provides is like nothing else. I really enjoyed Timbertop and found it such a rewarding place to be; to be faced with challenges, and to overcome them, leaves you feeling accomplished. Moving to Corio in Year 10, I knew there were opportunities like the Year 10 adventure camps, but I was extremely excited when activities such as the Bogong camp were announced, and the new positions of Adventure Captains were elected. To be able to have adventure education entwined into my time at Geelong Grammar School provides the perfect outlet away from the craziness of school life and a great way to free my mind and take some time off, but also provides me with an opportunity to extend my skills and develop new friendships.
The leadership programme has expanded for 2024 and, with the introduction of Step Out, 2024 leaders have had the opportunity to spend time with their fellow prefects and set some goals and establish values for 2024. How valuable did you find these sessions, and more broadly, what are your goals for 2024 in terms of leadership?
Hudson: I’m so happy to have the opportunity to experience these new leadership positions in the School and think they will help in making positive differences to GGS in 2024. In the Step Out programme, I found a lot of value in the leadership sessions which enabled us to set goals and values for 2024. I think these roles will provide a mode of communication for these values and goals to be exhibited at GGS. Individually, one of my goals for leadership in 2024 is to be able to confidently say that GGS students are kind and compassionate to one another and in the broader community. Above anything else producing students who have a capacity for kindness is the most important aspect of the school following its Anglican values. I want to help do this by being a role model to students through the position of School Captain in 2024.
What does service mean to you and how does it influence your approach to leadership?
Olivia: Service is about recognising that you are part of something much bigger than just yourself. I feel that I’m so fortunate for my time and the incredibly unique opportunities that have been given to me by Geelong Grammar School. To be able to take and involve myself in as many of the opportunities the school provides not only has helped me grow as a leader but in some instances has allowed me to give back and help the school and the broader community. For example, being involved in the Lorne 160 and tour days have been ways I have been able to provide service and show my gratitude and thanks to Geelong Grammar School. But, while also hopefully influencing others to take action to “have a go” as well. I hope in 2024 I am able to influence others to take all opportunities Geelong Grammar School offers and learn to give back to the school and broader community wherever possible.
Hudson: Service, to me, is being able to put other’s needs above my own. As a School Captain, it means finding ways to support my fellow students, the school community and the broader community outside of the school. Service shapes my approach to leadership by prioritising my character strengths of kindness and love in how I lead, positively impacting the lives of others. A way I have been able to use service this year was through participating in Lorne 160 alongside Olivia. Through this service activity not only myself, but the whole school, was able to show service to Samaritan House by donating and raising awareness of the problem of homelessness, specifically in the community of Geelong. I find that service has a major influence on how I lead, by ensuring I listen to all members of the community and their individual needs.