Leading the Pack
– A Q&A with the Head Boy and Head Girl
What are your requirements as Head Boy and Head Girl?
Johanna: We represent the school. The way that we act and the things that we do within the school defines our role. We also lead projects within the Prefect team. This year, the Prefects are sorted into different sectors such as Music, Sports, etc. They have long-term projects and we oversee them and make sure we’re making progress, and if not, we need to identify what’s going wrong and improve it. We also lead more long-term projects such as the recent Fiji Initiative. We’ve done a lot of fundraising as well as worked with other organizations such as Interact.
Binyam: We also handle communication between students and teachers. If students feel like there is something that could be changed within the school, they can report it to us. We represent the students’ voice and [try to] make changes.
What are some of your goals this year?
Johanna: One project would be the newsletter. We will have our own section within the newsletter so we can keep everyone updated on the Prefects. Also, strengthening the relationships between older and younger Senior School Students because we saw there was quite a gap. Now we have Key Stage and 3 links.
Binyam: For example, we go to classes and give short talks about the values of the week. I think previously Prefects were seen as there to guard the lunch door and that’s about it. We want to change that concept by developing clubs for everyone to get involved in. Utilizing everyone’s ideas and creating clubs that require the Prefects to go to talk to the younger years really helps. We want to make the Prefect team more affable and approachable to students; we shouldn’t intimidate anyone. A part of representing the school and the student body is that you should be able to relate to those around you – they should be able to talk to you anytime – and we’re able to build this through Key Stage 3 links.
What have you learned in this role so far?
Johanna: We have so many different things going on and it takes up a lot of time so I’ve learned to be a lot more organised. When it comes to projects, we have to make sure that everyone knows what they’re doing, that they’re implementing the things they said they would, and help if there’s any trouble.
Binyam: Having had the opportunity to lead people, you learn how to read emotions, to judge situations better, and how to talk to different people at certain times; your tone matters.
[Another] big thing I’ve learned is that if something is not going as planned, to adapt quickly and come up with another solution.
What are some of the challenges?
Johanna: Learning to improvise, such as in an assembly if we’re not really running on schedule.
Binyam: When we approach these challenges though, it’s with a fun mentality not something we’d stress ourselves over because everyone on the Prefect team really loves communicating and are persistent, so nothing can really put us out of shape.
In what ways does holding a prestigious position such as HB and HG at DCB prepare you for the future?
Johanna: The interview process we had to go through to get into these positions taught me what to expect for college interviews. In college, I plan to take on different leadership roles and I really want to continue MUN debating so this experience has really given me experience in how to lead. I want to study biological sciences and to go into research, and being Head Girl is helpful because you really have to know how to work with others. Working with research teams will be similar to working with the Prefect team in terms of people who have different strengths and weaknesses.
Binyam: I plan to study business so this is something that has definitely given me a lot of experience in leadership. I hope to be an entrepreneur one day, and that involves communicating with a wide range of people and organising resources.
What advice would you give to younger students aspiring to be part of the Prefect team?
Johanna: Always challenge yourself and never settle. It’s important to take on leadership roles at a young age which might push you outside of your comfort zone because those experiences are going to prepare you, not only for the Prefect team, but for tough life situations you might encounter.
Binyam: Utilize everything you can at Dulwich to the fullest. For example, I love playing football and teamwork has helped develop my communications skills. Also, don’t always follow the majority. If you really feel like you should question something, have the courage to do so. If you’re wrong, that’s fine too but be OK with failure. That’s really important.