From our Student Voice Scholar
Much like every other school year I have had at St Mary’s, this school year has flown by in a blink of an eye. From walking into school on my first day as a Sixth Former, to ending the year as Deputy Head Girl and a student voice and debate community scholar.
If I could travel back in time and tell Year 9 me how much I have accomplished in a school year, I would have said that it was impossible but, like many things at St Mary’s, nothing is ever impossible.
As student voice scholar, I am privileged to witness evidence of student voice all around the school. From Student Council to the Eco Committee, Wellbeing Committee and the International Committee, the school is open to a plethora of views and perspectives. With each committee holding triumphant achievement events, there is no shortage of opportunities to express one’s thoughts.
In the past school year, Student Council alone has produced solutions and agreements on lunchroom issues, a short list of house motifs and most importantly the new uniform provisions. Issues are raised and discussed, with consensus coming from representatives from each form group regading possible alternatives.
Projects by other committees include:
- Eco Thursdays, a sustainable fashion show and eco brick initiative by the Eco Committee
- Culture day, International Women’s Day and a Chinese New Year tea ceremony by the International Committee
- Halo Code by the Inclusivity Committee
- Mental Health Awareness Week and opening the new wellbeing room by the Wellbeing Committee
- St Mary's Fun Run, Lourdes Fundraising Fortnight and various fundraising events by the Charities Committee
As well being part of several school committees, I am also part of the student leadership team with the role of Deputy Head Girl as well as student voice and debate lead. This has not only allowed me to liaise with student leaders in different positions, but it has allowed me to work closely with likeminded peers.
When asked ‘why I choose to become a student voice scholar’ I can hand over the generic answer of ‘I want to help change the school for the better’ but my answer will always be that I want to be the one to prevent and break down the fear of ridicule and challenge when speaking out because every single person’s voice is valid and wanted regardless of their volume.
As Malala Yousafzai once said, ‘I raise my voice – not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard.’ Being a student voice scholar does not mean being the loudest person, it does not mean being the most opinionated, it does not mean being authoritative. It means to be able to respect, validate and consider each and every perspective regardless of who the comment came from. To be able to observe things that need to be improved and acting upon ideas presented.
As I end the year, I could not be happier to see how much student voice has developed over this school year and I look forward to seeing a bigger percentage of students taking part next year.
I want to be the one to prevent and break down the fear of ridicule and challenge when speaking out because every single person’s voice is valid and wanted regardless of their volume.
Alice W. Student Voice Scholar
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