By James E.R. Unsworth J.P. (Qual.), Deputy Head - Middle & Senior Schools
In Week 2 of Term 4, 33 Year 11 students embarked upon a wonderful and enriching journey to Sydney. Each year, the Year 11 students take on the mantle of leadership in Term 4, as the Year 12s complete their HSC examinations. They don the red shirts of the senior students, they commence their own HSC studies and they take on formal and informal leadership roles in the school. In order to best facilitate this transition, the Year 11 students embark upon a week-long leadership programme in Australia.
This year, our trip took us to Sydney, where we were accommodated at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation in Narrabeen. Our journey began in KLIA2 on the evening of Sunday 13 October where we boarded our over-night flight to Sydney. Arriving the following morning, our first day required resilience as the students pushed their way through their weariness to undertake a series of outdoor team-building sessions and indoor development sessions about leadership.
Tuesday brought a jam-packed itinerary, which involved visits to the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney, gelato and the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay, a ferry ride under the bridge to Darling Harbour and a night at the theatre for Billy Elliot, from which we learned a great deal of the qualities of leadership. Wednesday was a day primarily focussed on physical challenges, with rock climbing, abseiling, archery, hiking, canoeing and kayaking pushing us beyond our limits, but the day was punctuated with poignant indoor sessions on team-work and a team-built bonfire to end the day.
Thursday was yet another action-packed day, beginning with team-building, before a second journey into Sydney for a tour of the University of Technology Sydney, a visit to the Powerhouse Museum and a team-based Amazing Race around Darling Harbour. Friday capped-off our programme with more team-building, beach activities, leadership speeches and final celebration night at Luna Park. On Saturday, as we embarked upon our journey home to Malaysia, it is safe to say that our entire group were both enriched and exhausted. This journey genuinely enabled the group to come together, to strip away layers of facade, to grow as leaders and to push beyond personal boundaries.
In making this trip a reality a great many people need to be thanked, including the staff most closely involved with the Year 11 group, the administrative and financial support staff. Above all thank you to the students themselves, whose buy-in on the programme and whole-hearted participation made this leadership programme the success that it was: For this we are very proud.