06

Leading from Afar

Helena was handed the reigns as the 2020 School Captain at the end of 2019 and, along with the rest of us, she did not predict that a few months later she would need to translate all her leadership skills into a digital realm.

This period of isolation has made Helena look closely at what being a leader means, what it looks like and what she could do to help her community from afar. As one of the first to complete the innovative and unique Senior Years Program at Melbourne Girls Grammar, Helena has benefited from the scaffolded lessons fusing academic study, wellbeing and independence from Year 9.

The School Captain is the public face of Student Leadership in the School, and usually the position brings with it many face to face meetings, workshops and speeches. When I think about what it was like to be a leader at this time, it really took a lot of time to consider what leadership meant. Usually, I would consider leadership to be engaging a large crowd, organising events or attending meetings with peers and staff. But it has been more of a paradox now because in showing leadership, I've stayed inside without physically engaging with the Community. 

Leadership in the traditional sense had to be put aside and I started to think about how everyone's contribution to the cause of staying safe and staying inside, made us all leaders, doing our small part to combat the issue.

The School value of self discipline really was the most obvious strength at play in the weird time we were experiencing. It’s such an important value to take with us beyond school, as we manage ourselves when there are so many other distractions and competing tasks and emotions going on.

The connections we maintain are what helps us all stay on track, and not just those with our peers or within year levels. With teachers, with Dr Meath, and with everything going on, you see everyone doing their bit to support each other and that’s brought us all together. Knowing everyone at the School is doing their part and has your back, that’s something that has shown the strength of community and how we maintain our connections during this time.

In order to continue those connections, I worked really hard with the Student Executive Council to ensure we considered ways for the whole School, and not just with some year groups, to bring the entire student body together. We planned ‘Weekly Blast’ emails including recipes, stories, song and movie recommendations and ways to stay busy during isolation. Beyond that, we just wanted to make sure that everyone knew there was someone to reach out to and creating ways to keep the conversations going. We would send messages to Morris Hall; it was so amazing to see our younger students cope with the changes as they saw everything so differently and their perspective was so appreciated. 

While texting and calling your friends isn’t the same as giving them a hug, we had to find other ways to stay in touch. As Year 12s we are so close. This year has been quite difficult and while we’ve missed out on some of the milestones, I believe that we have managed; we’ve also been able to move many things online.

We started the ‘Remote Relay’ a week after we moved to remote learning as a way for us to ensure the day to day catch ups weren’t missed too much. This started with only Year 12 but expanded beyond. The purpose of the ‘Remote Relay’ was for each of us to take turns reflecting on a day, sharing how we were coping with working from home and the emerging changes to our lives. It was a great way to show that we were all going through the same thing but we all cope with it differently and have different advice. We were able to find solace in what other people were doing and it was really nice.

The connections we maintain are what helps us all stay on track, and not just those with our peers or within year levels. With teachers, with Dr Meath, and with everything going on, you see everyone doing their bit to support each other and that’s brought us all together. Knowing everyone at the School is doing their part and has your back, that’s something that has shown the strength of community and how we maintain our connections during this time.

In order to continue those connections, I worked really hard with the Student Executive Council to ensure we considered ways for the whole School, and not just with some year groups, to bring the entire student body together. We planned ‘Weekly Blast’ emails including recipes, stories, song and movie recommendations and ways to stay busy during isolation. Beyond that, we just wanted to make sure that everyone knew there was someone to reach out to and creating ways to keep the conversations going. We would send messages to Morris Hall; it was so amazing to see our younger students cope with the changes as they saw everything so differently and their perspective was so appreciated. 

While texting and calling your friends isn’t the same as giving them a hug, we had to find other ways to stay in touch. As Year 12s we are so close. This year has been quite difficult and while we’ve missed out on some of the milestones, I believe that we have managed; we’ve also been able to move many things online.

We started the ‘Remote Relay’ a week after we moved to remote learning as a way for us to ensure the day to day catch ups weren’t missed too much. This started with only Year 12 but expanded beyond. The purpose of the ‘Remote Relay’ was for each of us to take turns reflecting on a day, sharing how we were coping with working from home and the emerging changes to our lives. It was a great way to show that we were all going through the same thing but we all cope with it differently and have different advice. We were able to find solace in what other people were doing and it was really nice.

The connections we maintain are what helps us all stay on track, and not just those with our peers or within year levels. With teachers, with Dr Meath, and with everything going on, you see everyone doing their bit to support each other and that’s brought us all together. Knowing everyone at the School is doing their part and has your back, that’s something that has shown the strength of community and how we maintain our connections during this time.

In order to continue those connections, I worked really hard with the Student Executive Council to ensure we considered ways for the whole School, and not just with some year groups, to bring the entire student body together. We planned ‘Weekly Blast’ emails including recipes, stories, song and movie recommendations and ways to stay busy during isolation. Beyond that, we just wanted to make sure that everyone knew there was someone to reach out to and creating ways to keep the conversations going. We would send messages to Morris Hall; it was so amazing to see our younger students cope with the changes as they saw everything so differently and their perspective was so appreciated. 

While texting and calling your friends isn’t the same as giving them a hug, we had to find other ways to stay in touch. As Year 12s we are so close. This year has been quite difficult and while we’ve missed out on some of the milestones, I believe that we have managed; we’ve also been able to move many things online.

We started the ‘Remote Relay’ a week after we moved to remote learning as a way for us to ensure the day to day catch ups weren’t missed too much. This started with only Year 12 but expanded beyond. The purpose of the ‘Remote Relay’ was for each of us to take turns reflecting on a day, sharing how we were coping with working from home and the emerging changes to our lives. It was a great way to show that we were all going through the same thing but we all cope with it differently and have different advice. We were able to find solace in what other people were doing and it was really nice.

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Helena and her family held a cooking competition during isolation complete with a ranking system
Virtual Group Workouts were a popular way of staying connected and exercising simultaneously for our Grammarians
Our School Captains showing the love to their peers to welcome them to Term
To stay connected, our Year 12s held a tea party
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Next
Helena and her family held a cooking competition during isolation complete with a ranking system
Virtual Group Workouts were a popular way of staying connected and exercising simultaneously for our Grammarians
Our School Captains showing the love to their peers to welcome them to Term
To stay connected, our Year 12s held a tea party
Prev
Next

In terms of learning, personally I didn’t find it too difficult to adjust to remote learning. Since Year 9, we've been taught exactly how to learn online, make the most of opportunities and consider our wellbeing. Using self discipline, we learnt to manage our time and I know I'm already equipped with the tools I need to be effective wherever I am. Our teachers are always so on top of everything; they understand what we've been tackling and they’re continually trying to make it as easy as they can for us during this time. For me, it wasn’t necessarily the educational part of isolation that was the most difficult, it was more the physical distancing aspect. 

We’ve been through such a big change. Looking after our health has been really important. Moving forward, we need to continue to look after ourselves and others. If we are able to reach out to friends and family, then we can all continue to feel and appreciate the closeness we have experienced and hold onto it.

In terms of learning, personally I didn’t find it too difficult to adjust to remote learning. Since Year 9, we've been taught exactly how to learn online, make the most of opportunities and consider our wellbeing. Using self discipline, we learnt to manage our time and I know I'm already equipped with the tools I need to be effective wherever I am. Our teachers are always so on top of everything; they understand what we've been tackling and they’re continually trying to make it as easy as they can for us during this time. For me, it wasn’t necessarily the educational part of isolation that was the most difficult, it was more the physical distancing aspect. 

We’ve been through such a big change. Looking after our health has been really important. Moving forward, we need to continue to look after ourselves and others. If we are able to reach out to friends and family, then we can all continue to feel and appreciate the closeness we have experienced and hold onto it.

Within my household, we challenged each other to a cooking competition where every day someone would cook dinner and we had a ranking system to find the best chef of the week. The winner won the prize of not having to cook the next week. It was a fun way of connecting with my family – we got quite competitive too! 

I've had more time to do things like exercise, which I had trouble balancing in Term 1, and I wanted to work on this so I could maintain my activity the rest of the year. Taking the time for myself and spending time with family has been really helpful and important to me. 

"We’re all just humans trying to get through challenging times; we’ve all learned a lot about ourselves in the process.”​
Helena Wong Hansen, 2020 School Captain

Having this time of remote learning has been interesting, but I missed the, at times, rambunctious energy of my classmates and I missed my teachers. Having Zoom lessons gave us a glimpse into everyone’s lives, and also taught us that our teachers are humans as well with pets and families and a whole life. "We’re all just humans trying to get through challenging times; we’ve all learned a lot about ourselves in the process.”​

Within my household, we challenged each other to a cooking competition where every day someone would cook dinner and we had a ranking system to find the best chef of the week. The winner won the prize of not having to cook the next week. It was a fun way of connecting with my family – we got quite competitive too! 

I've had more time to do things like exercise, which I had trouble balancing in Term 1, and I wanted to work on this so I could maintain my activity the rest of the year. Taking the time for myself and spending time with family has been really helpful and important to me. 

"We’re all just humans trying to get through challenging times; we’ve all learned a lot about ourselves in the process.”​
Helena Wong Hansen, 2020 School Captain

Having this time of remote learning has been interesting, but I missed the, at times, rambunctious energy of my classmates and I missed my teachers. Having Zoom lessons gave us a glimpse into everyone’s lives, and also taught us that our teachers are humans as well with pets and families and a whole life. "We’re all just humans trying to get through challenging times; we’ve all learned a lot about ourselves in the process.”​

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Forming Connections

Forming Connections

Forming Connections

A powerful product of the Senior Years Program at MGGS is how it empowers our Grammarians to develop skills in self management and take ownership of their learning. It was wonderful to see the passion and drive from our student leaders, especially Helena as our School Captain, during this time of remote learning. The strong presence and leadership of our Student Executive Council shone through in their endeavours to keep us all connected, and I'm extremely proud of the creativity they’ve shown. The morale boosts they provided were very welcome distractions from times when some were feeling the isolation. 

It’s been weirdly wonderful stepping into the School at this time of transformation, and watching these confident young Grammarians take the changes in their stride and thrive. Witnessing the different groups working together and seeing how student leaders gave up their time to provide support for their fellow Grammarians was an incredible benefit of remote learning, and indeed I have seen many positive initiatives in this time. Through laptops, phones, or tablets our Grammarians engaged in thinking, movement and connection with those around us. It was wonderful to bear witness to how each Grammarian continued to reflect on their learnings after their return to campus.

"It was wonderful to bear witness to how each Grammarian continued to reflect on their learnings after their return to campus."
Luke A. Francis, Executive Director, Senior Years

A powerful product of the Senior Years Program at MGGS is how it empowers our Grammarians to develop skills in self management and take ownership of their learning. It was wonderful to see the passion and drive from our student leaders, especially Helena as our School Captain, during this time of remote learning. The strong presence and leadership of our Student Executive Council shone through in their endeavours to keep us all connected, and I'm extremely proud of the creativity they’ve shown. The morale boosts they provided were very welcome distractions from times when some were feeling the isolation. 

It’s been weirdly wonderful stepping into the School at this time of transformation, and watching these confident young Grammarians take the changes in their stride and thrive. Witnessing the different groups working together and seeing how student leaders gave up their time to provide support for their fellow Grammarians was an incredible benefit of remote learning, and indeed I have seen many positive initiatives in this time. Through laptops, phones, or tablets our Grammarians engaged in thinking, movement and connection with those around us. It was wonderful to bear witness to how each Grammarian continued to reflect on their learnings after their return to campus.

"It was wonderful to bear witness to how each Grammarian continued to reflect on their learnings after their return to campus."
Luke A. Francis, Executive Director, Senior Years

A powerful product of the Senior Years Program at MGGS is how it empowers our Grammarians to develop skills in self management and take ownership of their learning. It was wonderful to see the passion and drive from our student leaders, especially Helena as our School Captain, during this time of remote learning. The strong presence and leadership of our Student Executive Council shone through in their endeavours to keep us all connected, and I'm extremely proud of the creativity they’ve shown. The morale boosts they provided were very welcome distractions from times when some were feeling the isolation. 

It’s been weirdly wonderful stepping into the School at this time of transformation, and watching these confident young Grammarians take the changes in their stride and thrive. Witnessing the different groups working together and seeing how student leaders gave up their time to provide support for their fellow Grammarians was an incredible benefit of remote learning, and indeed I have seen many positive initiatives in this time. Through laptops, phones, or tablets our Grammarians engaged in thinking, movement and connection with those around us. It was wonderful to bear witness to how each Grammarian continued to reflect on their learnings after their return to campus.

"It was wonderful to bear witness to how each Grammarian continued to reflect on their learnings after their return to campus."
Luke A. Francis, Executive Director, Senior Years
Article written by

Helena Wong Hansen

2020 School Captain

&

,

Luke Francis

Executive Director, Senior Years

&