Why did you apply for the Head Prefect roles?
Anya: After joining Lower Sixth in September, it didn’t take me very long at all to realise how special Eltham is as a school. It really is a one-of-a-kind place and I fundamentally believe it is unmatched by any other school in terms of teaching, morals and atmosphere. The opportunity to represent such an exceptional school, accompanied by the opportunity to promote ideas to help improve it, was truly something I did not want to miss out on.
Aryan: Having been in the school since Year 3, the Head Boy was someone who I admired and took inspiration from. He, alongside the Head Prefects were students who acted as a role models for the school and were leading figures in implementing positive change.
Joe: Since joining the school in Year 7, the senior prefects have always been someone to look up to, and I feel they represent the best of what Eltham has to offer, and I have admired them for this. I was motivated to apply also, because it is a role which allows you to give back, and for me a chance to give back to a community which has offered me so many fantastic opportunities throughout my time here.
What did the application process entail?
Ujanah: The process began with the initial application for the role of a school prefect. Within this, each candidate had to submit a letter explaining why they were deserving of the role, and, more importantly, what they thought they could bring to the role. This was our earliest opportunity to convey our ideas and what we wanted to achieve as student leaders at school. Following on from these letters, online interviews took place via Microsoft Teams with senior members of staff. Although it was strange to complete these interviews over a computer screen, they were designed to give us an opportunity to prove ourselves as candidates.
After the online interviews, there was a voting survey that took place. Here, both students and staff could vote for who they thought deserved the Head/Girl and Deputy Head Boy/Girl roles. After taking the prefect application letter, online interview, and student/staff votes into account, four boys and girls were shortlisted for an interview with the Headmaster. After the interview, Mr Sanderson then made his decision, which was announced at the start of term.
What was the thing that made you stand out?
Anya: This is a hard question, as I think all of the candidates had things that made them stand out. However, I would say that what made me stand out was my enthusiasm to get involved with all aspects of school life, whether this be participating in the musical production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, playing netball, or helping represent Eltham at the UKMT Team Maths Challenge.
Aryan: Every candidate had something which set them apart from the rest. For me, I think that it was my motivation to improve the school environment, alongside my willingness to help other students. I have mentored students throughout my time at the school, both in a subject-specific and pastoral sense by helping students who may be struggling with various difficulties. After having faced a range of challenges myself throughout my time at the school, I realise how important it is to be there, not only for your closest peers, but for every single member of our community.
Joe: This question is difficult, as I would say there is not one specific quality that made me stand out. I feel my passion for the school, and the connections I have made with my peers throughout my time at Eltham were key. My willingness to participate in activities throughout different areas of school, be that Music, Sport or Academics has helped me to develop skills, and have the confidence to take on such a role.
What was the hardest part of the process?
Anya: I’d say that, while the process felt quite seamless overall, it was strange going through it as we went into lockdown. I think it can remain uncontested that, since March, life has been very different. Doing the interviews online was definitely more stressful than in real life, especially when my internet connection shut down five minutes before my interview with Ms Pokorny! However, what was particularly difficult was keeping in mind that the Eltham we would be returning to in person in September would be different to that which we left in March. Throughout the process, the prominence of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the emphasis on how it would affect school life, meant that generating a vision for the school this year was undoubtedly more challenging than it would have been in any previous year.
Aryan: I’d have to agree with Anya about the online interviews! Having only done face-to-face interviews before, sitting in my freshly ironed school shirt in the comfort of my dining room for the interview was quite the experience! While this was a challenge, so is almost every aspect of the circumstances that we are currently living in. On visions for the school, my idea of integrating closer networks between younger and older students had to be adapted to adhere to the restrictions but learning to overcome challenges like these was one of the few positives to take from the current situation.
Ujanah: I would say that the hardest part of the process was the initial putting yourself forward. It was nerve racking as you didn’t necessarily know what everyone was thinking. Then there was the waiting to hear which with anything, causes more worries and stress, when in reality it’s not that bad. This year we had interviews online which made it more difficult. We currently have the challenge of working around the Covid-19 pandemic – but we are doing what we can to make sure we continue to make a difference.
What are you most looking forward to?
All: We are really looking forward to seeing the integration of girls into Eltham College, following the entrance of girls this year in Years 3 and 7. Eltham is a school where both boys and girls will thrive, thanks to the incredible opportunities available to every student. Within our roles, we are excited to be leaders for the school during such an important period of change at Eltham College. We cannot wait to see what every student at Eltham is capable of.
What do you want to achieve in your roles?
While we have many ideas, there are two main goals that we are aspiring for. First, the Eltham College community is one of the special things that makes Eltham so unique. We are especially eager to ensure this community extends to all strands of life at Eltham, including the Junior school. Alongside this, we want to improve the connections between year groups, especially during these challenging times where we seem to be more isolated now than ever. By strengthening this community, we can create an atmosphere where students feel even more welcome and inspired by those around them.
Secondly, we want to encourage everyone within our community to be advocates for positive change within the school. As an institution, Eltham has a duty to be at the forefront of the progress being made worldwide socially. Eltham does not stand for any type of discrimination, whether this be racism, sexism, homophobia or anything that jeopardises the welcoming and accepting nature of school. Therefore, we are working towards achieving an even more progressive environment, where student voices are heard, and change can be striven for accordingly. We have every faith that, with the help of the incredible people at Eltham College, we will be able to achieve these intentions.