College – Issue 41

LEADERSHIP When the Prefects join in the fun

It is all about breaking down barriers and building relationships. For the first time since its inception, the Immerse & Inspire live-in week in Jacobs House has included Prefects sharing the experience with the younger boys.

It has proved to be a novel experience for both groups.

Rostered on in twos for Immerse & Inspire groups from May until the end of Term 3, the Prefects say they have got as much out of it as the Year 10 boys. “Although they’re only three years younger than us, and it was for only a week, you could see they really looked up to us as role models,” Chapel Prefect Kosei Oikawa says. “Year 13s are usually quite scary when you’re that age, and when we were at that stage, we didn’t have a lot to do with Prefects, so the live-in time was a chance to break down those barriers,” Head of Wellbeing Thomas Stephens says. “It was a great initiative to enable us to personally connect with the younger boys. And it has to be good for improving the culture of the school.” Kosei agrees: “Through my interactions with the Year 10s, I think I was able to build on my connections with students in my own House, and, also, to form new friendships with students from other Houses. Another thing – I gained the courage to tell the boys off, when necessary, which I have continued to do in my daily life as a Chapel Prefect.”

Having the Prefects around them in their daily activities throughout the week has meant the younger boys can interact naturally with an older mentor, they say. “That can be intimidating at first, but they adapted well, and really seemed to enjoy having us around.” Both view the prep time as daily highlights. “It was the time we could help out some of the boys with their homework, which they really liked, and also have interesting conversations with them, about possible career pathways, and their futures, in general,” Kosei says. “There was one boy who was really interested in the Prefect role, and wanted to know what we actually did, how we got to be Prefects, and was perhaps seeing himself in the job in the future.” Tom says he has always enjoyed the leadership aspect of being a Prefect and has found the live-in time an excellent way to normalise the relationship between the two groups.

“In the beginning, most of the Year 10s still had their guards up, but by the end of the week, they’d relaxed, and the barriers were down, and we could see their personalities. I felt there was real respect between us and them. They felt they could be normal around us. I think it’s a real confidence booster for the younger guys to be able to make a proper connection with a Year 13. Incorporating this Prefect live-in time is a great way to build a new relationship with people and it adds a new personal experience for us.” Kosei agrees: “There were two- way benefits. I have definitely improved my skills at relating to – and understanding – the young boys, and I’ve taken a lot of very useful life skills away from the whole experience. I hope it continues.” College’s Director of Character & Leadership, Matt Cortesi, says, overall, it has been a very positive

result for everyone involved. “The intention was to give the Prefects more opportunity for

leadership, but also to be there to act as role models, mentors for the Year 10 boys, and also help set a positive tone in each of the programmes.”

Christ’s College Canterbury


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