It was fitting that some of Sydney's aspiring young leaders completed the UNSW Leadership Program on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration.
The course, a new community outreach initiative, offers Year 12 students from a selection of public and private high schools the opportunity to learn about various aspects of leadership through an intensive two-day workshop.
Psychologists Julie Grove and Wayne Gillespie from the UNSW Counselling Service and Compass Program facilitated the workshop and were impressed with the 20 participants, all of whom have taken on school leadership roles.
"These are interested, politically savvy and articulate students," said Grove. "They come from very diverse backgrounds, but they immediately formed a cohesive and collaborative group."
One of the goals of the Leadership Program is for students to step outside their academic role and contribute to the community.
Amanda Thai, a prefect at Hurlstone Agricultural High School, plans to share her new skills with local primary schools. "I'm going to design a program that our prefects can use to teach leadership skills to Year 6 children," she said.
School Captain of St Aloysius College, John Slaven, believes what he has learnt will assist him in his new position. "I'm looking forward to implementing all these new ideas - I've learnt a lot about communicating with my peers."
The participants will graduate from the program in April.
The UNSW Leadership Program involved two of the five schools supported by the University's ASPIRE Program which encourages students from low socio-economic backgrounds to pursue higher education.
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