Gracious in winning…

Last week I spent a very enjoyable day interviewing girls in the Lower Sixth who wanted to be part of the Girls’ Leadership Group (GLG). Without exception, the girls were eloquent and spoke confidently about their role in the team and the changes they would like to bring to the school. It was exciting to hear their ideas and very rewarding to know that each girl interviewed did have the potential to go out and make a difference.

So how do we select from such a strong field. It is not easy. I feel strongly that belonging to the GLG is not a reward for past behaviours or for past contributions to school life. Instead it is a badge that recognises that the individual has the capacity to lead others to enhance the school community. It is a measure of what they think they can do rather than what they have done. And the girls’ responses to these questions were illuminating. One individual spoke of the importance of developing a virtuous character through the continuous practice of virtuous acts, extolling Aristotle. She felt that the role would enable her to do this. Another spoke of an article in the Muse on the hidden child and how important it was that all voices were heard. The school had helped her voice be heard and she now wanted to encourage others to do the same. Her application was an act of boldness and she felt girls should be encouraged to take risks. Others spoke of the importance of small acts of kindness and the benefits they bring to a community. Their role was to ensure that they carried out these thoughtful gestures.

But in applying for the roles, as over 63 girls did, not everyone will be rewarded. For many girls it is their first taste of rejection, and rejection is always difficult to take. But as one girl said – losing in sport is what makes you stronger and she had learned to be gracious in winning and dignified in defeat. This was no different. I was delighted by the girls’ graciousness but most of all by their dignity as they reflected on how they can play a role in making a difference to the school even if they are not on the GLG. I applaud their poise and integrity.

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