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Building great leaders

One of the cornerstones of a successful education programme is the active engagement of students – young people need to be involved, feel they have a voice and be able to take ownership of their place in the school.
Members of the ACG School Jakarta Secondary Student Council

At ACG School Jakarta, students are introduced to these concepts from a very early age. Whether through representing their peers, leading sports teams, or taking on more formal leadership roles, all students have the chance to build their leadership potential through channels that resonate with them.

One of the most popular pathways is through student council membership. Primary student leaders, tasked with age-appropriate responsibilities and functions, are appointed from Year 1 to Year 6 cohorts. The Year 6 representatives enthusiastically and energetically lead the Primary Student Council themselves (bolstered by assistance from coordinating teachers Vinnie Kaur and Lia Pardede).

Meanwhile, Secondary Student Council members represent Years 7 to 13 at ACG School Jakarta. Led by the school's four Year 12 prefects, the Head Boy and Girls are also involved in the council to provide advice and help the new prefects grow into their senior leadership roles.

Secondary Student Council Coordinator Annie Pickering has found that as students develop and mature in their council positions, they, in turn, become mentors, providing support and guidance to junior members. With students acquiring this type of expertise, alongside so many other positive experiences, she feels it is hugely beneficial for young learners to take on leadership roles.

"Involving younger students in school leadership opportunities like the student council is incredibly important as it allows them to understand how to be a leader. I believe that learning these skills from their older peers (not adults or teachers) has more value for them. It also helps them develop their communication abilities with different groups of people in a variety of ways. 

"Plus, being part of the leadership team encourages students to organise others, to be organised themselves, and to be reliable and responsible. They learn from being part of a collective that works together for a common aim. The student council gives them a safe, supportive environment to voice and develop their ideas."

Additionally, students in the ACG leadership team gain invaluable abilities that equip them for life beyond the classroom, from collaboration and conflict resolution to emotional intelligence (EQ) and social skills.

"Our students understand that being a leader means they must learn to speak up when others may not," adds Annie. "They discover that communication is key to successful leadership; this includes actively listening to others and their intended meaning. And learn that a good leader utilises a person's abilities while helping that same individual improve in areas that may be lacking. 

"It involves a lot of hard work and dedication, but our students ultimately find being part of the leadership team to be very rewarding." 

For Annie, the highlights of working with the student council members are many and varied.

"I enjoy observing the students develop and grow as leaders, especially as the older students model excellent leadership skills to the younger students. They become a team with common interests and aims for the greater good of the student body. 

"I'm always impressed with how they use various methods and platforms to communicate with different parts of the community. They continue to surprise me with the way they manage or navigate the unexpected. And finally, I can't understate their resilience, sense of humour and capacity to learn. It's great to see them contribute to the school they're part of in such positive and enriching ways."

Secondary Student Council Coordinator Annie Pickering