Introducing our 2023 School Captains

It is with great excitement that we introduce our 2023 School Captains and Vice Captains.

We would like to congratulate Captains Amy Walker and Edward Simon, Vice Captains Oscar Punter and Scye Collen, who will lead our School with passion in pride this year.

‘All candidates who were shortlisted for School Captain would make fantastic leaders. Congratulations to our leaders who have been elected. Along with our Prefects, I am sure they will do a brilliant job. We are very proud of them,’ – Darren Macleod-Paterson, Head of Secondary.

Edward Simon, 2023 School Captain

Right there, sitting atop those bleachers exactly a year ago is where I listened to eight individuals, much like ourselves, share their story. However, I sat there asking myself one question, what would I say?

I would like to give you insight into a process of thinking I’ve adopted in both the macro and micro events throughout my life. This process follows three principles:

Principal 1. Learn

After moving interstate to Sunshine Coast Grammar School in Year 8 it was as if my life was put on refresh. I was surrounded by a new environment with new friends, new locations, and new routines. However, I took in one day at a time, absorbed as much new information as possible and learned. At school, I was flooded with hundreds of new faces whose names I never thought I would remember. I wandered around this school, getting lost many times, and I swam at beaches with names I couldn’t even pronounce. Now I can happily admit I know all my peers’ names, I don’t get lost as often, and I can pronounce Mooloolaba most of the time.

Principal 2. Think

After slowly learning the new ways of life that flourish both within the gates of Grammar and beyond, the foundations were built to think. Now I know this may sound a little weird but to think is to plant a dream or develop a goal and explore the steps to attain it. Aspirations quickly formed throughout many parts of my life whether it be in the academic field, where I strived to become top of my grade, or in the pool where I trained to qualify at a national level. If you ask any of my friends this is where they’d probably tell you I’m a bit of a sweat.

Once a goal was set there was nothing that would stop me from achieving it and thus, I went on to realise these aspirations. Now I know this next bit may get a little cringy but stay with me. A further goal of mine was to build strong relationships with my peers and of course, there’s no metric to how good a relationship is but I’d like to share with you a few words that were written anonymously on a piece of paper taped to my back at Year 11 camp. I was referred to as a ‘really good conversation partner’, having an ‘inclusive soul’ and having ‘care for everyone’. Although these are not things I consciously think of each day, it gave me comfort and hope that my goal of building strong relationships was well underway.

Principal 3. Evolve

Looking back on the past four years I have experienced some of the largest growth periods of my life to date. However, I have no intention of leaving it there. I now aspire to become your 2023 School Captain where I intend to continue learning, thinking and evolving.

In closing, I would like to leave you with three simple words. These three words encompass who I am, and I now invite you all to come learn, think and evolve with me.

Amy Walker, 2023 School Captain

I am honored to have the opportunity to be selected as School Captain in 2023. Firstly, for those of you who don’t know me here are a few things about me, on weekends I love swimming at the beach, my favorite holiday I’ve been on was to Colorado and, my birthday is next week, which means I will be doing my driver’s test very soon which I am extremely excited for. Also, some of you may know my sisters, I have one older sister, Jasmine, who graduated last year and a younger sister, Bethany, who is in grade eight this year who, I’m sure, can tell you lots of nice things about me.

This means that I am also the middle child, a position that I take much pride in and take very seriously. Despite the stigma around the title, I like to believe I am ‘the life of the party’ and not at all neglected or forgotten. In fact, I might be the golden child right now for getting to do this speech. Although mum has forgotten to pick me up from school once or twice. But who’s counting?

I have been a part of our school for over 12 years now and began my journey as a new leaf early learner but officially entered the Grammar family in Mrs Bottrell’s class in 2011. I remember back then thinking how big the grade twelves looked and how grown up I thought they were, ideas that make the thought of me being in grade twelve next year seem nearly impossible. One of my earliest memories of the grade twelves would be when I went up on assembly to present them with their graduation gifts, a task that I was quite nervous to do as I thought I would be now talking in front of all of you. I also have many memories of competing with my friends throughout Primary School to see who could get the most high-fives and hugs at the Walk of Honour because to me the grade twelves were like celebrities.

These memories that I have from when I was younger are the reason that I know how much we will be looked up to as grade twelves next year. And that because of this we will have a very true responsibility to be worthy role models to the younger students, which to me is what leadership is all about. It’s about being the best version of yourself to help others become the best versions of themselves. I can definitely say that all the previous leaders of our school have done just this, all inspiring me to want to model the same integrity and inclusivity that they did. And because of everything Grammar has given me, I would love to be able to give something back too.

Accordingly, as a leader next year, the main idea that I would like to nurture would be our sense of community. I would love to help encourage everyone to seize all the opportunities that Grammar has to offer so that we can all make the best of our school experience.

Oscar Punter, 2023 School Vice Captain

I’m grateful to have received advice from several teachers and students about how to approach the writing of my School Captain speech, and the consistent piece of advice I’ve received from everyone was to be authentic. The words I say should accurately reflect me.

I feel privileged to be one of the shortlisted School Captain candidates. My biggest flex so far, and the one thing my Mum said I should definitely tell all of you, is that I have been a School Captain before. Sure, it was Year six, and back then I probably would have struggled to see over the lectern, but I do think everything I value about leadership now has changed since then.

Because back then, I thought I was an ideal candidate for this thing called leadership. I was loud, confident, spoke my mind, and wasn’t afraid to give everything a go. I’m not eleven anymore, and I’ve since realised that effective leadership is something way more complex than that. Leadership takes the form of many different things, whether that be Sophia’s supportive hand on the back of Mikayla as she got up to read at Chapel, Luke leading by example by being the first one at the training field, Edward having the maturity to tell a younger Oscar Punter to respectfully be quiet so that he could focus on his work. These are the examples of leadership that I value nowadays, the moments where somebody acts in a way that inspires others to be a better version of themselves, no matter how small that action may be.

For me, I strive to be a good role model, to be inclusive, fair, kind, and reasonable in my actions and contributions to the school and wider community. I don’t mind putting my hand up and helping out when the opportunity arises, whether that be through the Emerging Leaders Program or Grammar Helping Hands. I commit to continuing this mindset as one of the leaders of Grammar in 2023. I am also of the opinion that finding the positive side and having a bit of fun is really important to maintaining a healthy life balance. As a leader, it is my goal to inspire others to have this positive life balance in their lives too.

I consider it an immense privilege and honour to be voted Vice Captain. I have immense respect for the opinions of my teachers and students and will take the opportunity seriously.

Scye Collen, 2023 School Vice Captain

I am honoured to tell you about myself and how my Grammar journey has developed me into the leader I am today.

When I was four years old, I moved from London to the Sunshine Coast with my Mum, Dad and older sister. Kindergarten in the Early Learning Centre was where I learnt how to play with marbles, fake being asleep during our nap times (which I now regret), how to wave at the passing cars through the fence, all the while slowly losing my British accent. In Year 1, I was excited to put on my big school formal uniform, in Year 2 to be chosen to collect the tuckshop box with a buddy, and in Year 4 to move up to the bigger eating area. The highlight of Primary years at Grammar is without a doubt the last day of each year, when we met our new teacher, cleaned the classroom furniture, and got rid of every object that had accumulated in the class cupboard. 

The jump from Year 6 to 7 was definitely frightening, and the first few months of high school were spent trying not to let anyone notice me in my high school dress in the primary library because I refused to print at the secondary library out of pure fear. Fortunately, I was given the confidence I needed by leaders and mentors in my life. I have spent high school playing tennis, netball, water polo, pool life-saving, debating, touch, and rugby 7s, when I am not breaking my bones.

I hope that I can also be the leader who gives you enough confidence to take the leap at printing at a new library and encourages you to be the best version of yourself. We are all at Grammar with a similar goal: to succeed in making the most of the opportunities on offer and to prepare ourselves for our future after graduation. Our motto, Where Passion Meets Purpose is ingrained in all of us. Allow me to lead this passion, lead this purpose and hope, whilst being empowered by God’s strength, for “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.

Whether it be Mr Martin making us rocky road after a difficult exam, Mr Miller making tea to help us understand stoichiometry, or classes spent discussing Star Wars rather than Macbeth with Mrs Dunstan, I am proud to be a part of this Grammar Family, and I hope you agree I can lead it with pride in 2023.