Senior Team Attend the All-Ireland Senior Prefects’ Conference
On September 8th 2017 some of RBAI’s Senior Prefects journeyed to the inaugural All-Ireland Senior Prefect Leadership Conference at St Columba’s College, Dublin. This is the first time such a meeting has been held and our Head of School, Ben Connolly, along with his two deputies, Aneurin Duffin-Murray and Matthew Shane share their insights of a unique event.
After an early start and a long journey down to St Columba’s College Dublin, we represented the school in a leadership course run by the ‘The Unreasonables’, a group of inspirational young men and women from the UK with a passion for entrepreneurial leadership. The aim of the event was to improve our confidence and enhance communication, allowing us to more clearly relay ideas to both staff and the prefect team.
The first activity in which we were involved was an icebreaker which involved sharing our aspirations with other Head Boys and Girls from schools across the Island of Ireland. This activity increased our relations with other schools and gave us an insight into the thought processes of pupils of a similar age. The activity gave us ideas for a wealth of strategies we may never have tried had we not spoken to our peers.
This was closely followed by a talk from a guest speaker and former pupil of St Columba’s College, Rosy Temple, (now Irish Sales Manager for Rebel Kitchen) who told us that though she’d had four career changes and was still determined to follow her aspirations. This inspired us to strive for our goals and understand that no matter what difficulties we may face in life, we can always adapt.
Next, we participated in a public speaking exercise during which we had 10 minutes to construct a speech on the topic ‘Something that made us angry’. This helped us build confidence in what we had to say and hone the qualities necessary to be successful senior prefects.
Finally we participated in an activity to explore our comfort zones. This involved a series of scenarios that gave us the opportunity to consider how at ease we would have felt in certain situations, for example stating a controversial view at a family dinner or approaching a favourite celebrity on the street. Through the perspectives of others, this provided us with new strategies on how to cope with unusual events and whether we were introverts or extroverts. This reflection and self-evaluation was a useful insight into how we compare with our peers, and provided suggestions for dealing with future situations in which we may mind ourselves.
The multitude of activities we engaged in throughout the day helped us realise not only the importance of strong leaders in communities, but highlighted also their ability to communicate with their team; our own communication with others in similar positions was also of significant value. Consequently, we created a ‘groupchat’ for the Heads and Deputy Heads of other schools in order to continue discussions and aid each other in various decisions and ideas for improving the school community.
‘ The Unreasonables’ concluded by telling us their mantra, the words of George Bernard Shaw. It is a sentiment that will help us going forwards:
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”