Posted by Julia Goonan
on 10 February 2020
The Lasallian Student Leader Seminar, a gathering of like-minded, humble, united Lasallians began 2020 with positive vibes. Collaroy housed over 100 Lasallians from across the District, bringing the fresh student leaders of 2020 together for a jam-packed 5 days of activities. Lasallian leadership was the theme of the week that every College leader, Volunteer and Youth Minister centred their reflections and presentations.
Beginning on Monday 20th of January, Lasallians from Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, united in Collaroy on the North Coast of Australia to share cabins, form small groups and represent their schools. Every morning and evening, prayer in a modern and inclusive way opened and closed the day with unity and peace and a sense of fulfilment.
The program was full of energy and excitement, having meals together, walking to the beach together and building lasting connections. As students settled into their small groups and adjusted to the seminar environment, no time was wasted. Reflections and insight began to flow out of the students. Owen Wright and Monique Bova, Lasallian volunteers and past school leaders, led the morning session on Tuesday with starting a conversation of 'What qualities does a great leader have? What influenced you to become a leader? How do you want people to view you as a leader?'
Intense discussions within small groups led to answers including
"I want to be like everyone in my school's friend; I don't want to be the big person at the front. I want to be approachable by everyone."
Merv McCormack featured on Tuesday morning, speaking of authentic leadership and the need for self-care during a year of constant giving. Merv, Executive Director of the Lasallian Mission Council, related to each of the students, telling personal stories of his relationship with his son and granddaughter and the ways he takes time out to look after himself to prevent burnout. A piece of wisdom that will stick with the students was
"Don't give up your values; it will be hard at times. Life is a compromise and a balance of what to compromise, just as long as you compromise on outcomes, not your principles."
The Lasallian Volunteers and Lasallian Student Leaders separated at different times each day to have separate professional development. The Lasallian Volunteers hold great responsibility and opportunity for growth as they sent into different placements across the District to assist in the communities as both teachers aids and young students' role models. With training in the behavioural management of children, to reflection and guidance on self-care the volunteers are well prepared to serve this year.
Br David Hawke, Brother Visitor, was another presenter who was generous with his Question and Answer time. He spoke to the young leaders on Wednesday morning, speaking of his journey into the Lasallian community and his now key role in leadership within our Lasallian community.
Over the course of LSLS, Lasallian Hot Seat took place. School captains are put on the hot seat for 10 minutes to explain different initiatives their school upholds, and answers questions that are directed at them. Every school from across the District presents, whether it be in the form of video, presentation, singing their school song or chanting their school war-cry. While some schools may be an 8-hour flight away or 15-hour drive away, no matter the distance or space between them, every student held a common interest with the other, of faith, service and community.
The week was full of vulnerability, opening up and sharing stories. Many of the Youth ministers lead sessions, filled with expression and advice. A highlight from the week took place on Tuesday night, where Eliza Clark and Franco De Joya shared their gifts of Dance and Slam Poetry. Franco, Youth Minister from Oakhill College, poured his heart into his Slam Poem, Rice and had tears in everyone's eye.
A celebratory Mass on Thursday offered a chance to slow down and connect with God and contemplate on what it means to be Lasallian after the five days. Students were arm in arm singing songs and were joyfully prayerful throughout the Mass. Br. Lewish and Franco De Joya, offered reflections on the readings. Students showed leadership by taking ownership of this celebration, designing elements representative of the community formed over the week.
Thursday night held the annual and traditional Lasallian Idol. Individual delegates and teams of newly formed relationships shared their talents in front of the 120 people in the room to perform different kinds of talents including singing, poly-fest hand-clapping, cultural dancing and much more.
Concluding on Friday morning, there were hugs filled with love and good luck. Their year in a significant role within their schools begins soon, and what better way to start their journey with LSLS.