After more than a decade at ACG School Jakarta, Lidia Napitupulu is "ecstatic" to be able to give back to the educational institution that has given her so much – and the recently appointed Head Girl has a plenitude of plans for making the 2022-2023 academic year the best one yet.
"Having spent all of my Primary and Secondary school years at ACG, it's fantastic to now be able to reciprocate the school's generosity to me, and my head is full of ideas I can initiate," says Lidia.
"I want to foster a creative environment where students can express their individuality through a range of artistic mediums. After being confined to our homes for so long through Covid-19, we need to be able to express ourselves and communicate with others. Self-expression is vital to developing self-confidence and a sense of belonging in the world."
One of the ideas Lidia is most excited about is the reintroduction of creative arts night – an event she recalls fondly from her time as a Primary student.
"I also hope to implement initiatives that will contribute to the school's growth, help students strengthen ties with the school community and deepen our understanding of Indonesian culture. I want to promote more interaction with the local community by partnering with other international and local schools to run events such as Clean Up Days."
A strong sense of community and connected school culture are top priorities for the big-hearted teen, and she's determined to ensure that all students enjoy the ACG experience as much as she has.
"To me, ACG is like a large family. Our very inclusive school community warmly welcomed me from the moment I first set foot on the school grounds 12 years ago. It was a lesson in accepting people of different cultures and backgrounds, and that experience has inspired me to go on and share happiness and kindness.
"ACG is a place of harmonious cooperation, peace, discipline and cohesion. The positivity that permeates the school environment adds a touch of warmth to the myriad challenges we confront as students. We're given a voice, receive a great deal of support, and are empowered to study to our full potential."
Lidia has stepped up to several key leadership roles during her time at the school. She was Vice Captain of the Cicaks House, a Year 12 Prefect, and a member of the Student Council in both Primary and Secondary school.
"These roles have enhanced my communication and leadership skills and honed my problem-solving abilities. I've developed initiative, patience and tenacity and have learned to communicate with students of various ages and cultures, building friendships despite our differences and broadening my perspective."
Lidia has acquired an array of soft skills for life beyond the classroom. And as a result, she encourages all students coming up through the school to do the same by taking advantage of the fantastic – and varied – leadership opportunities on offer.
"I believe it's crucial for students to have leadership experiences because it allows them to learn the art of forming bonds within teams, constructing identities, and enhancing their creativity. In addition, they'll develop good communication and interpersonal skills and be able to share the student body's views with teachers and the school principal."
But suggesting students put their hands up for leadership roles isn't the only piece of advice Lidia has for them.
"I would also say, don't put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy learning and studying without feeling too pressured to do so. And stay optimistic even when you're facing tough challenges. If you're struggling, don't give up; just try again. And if you do fail, don't beat yourself up. Instead, use it as an incentive to know yourself better and what you can do to grow."