Our leaders are a shining beacon

By Lachlan Durling

ECHUCA-MOAMA’S Beacon Foundation is going from strength to strength with a record 437 students across five schools taking part.

The news comes as the foundation holds its first event for the year, the Beacon leadership day.

Twenty leaders from the five secondary schools in the area gathered at Bendigo TAFE’s Echuca campus on Friday for a meet and greet and to plan the year.

For the students, it marks the start of a year full of opportunities to learn and grow.

“I wanted to help out in the community in any way I could, and I thought becoming a beacon leader would be the perfect first step,” St Joseph’s College student Ella McCormick said.

“I wanted to become a Beacon leader because I watched friends from last year take part, it looked great and I wanted to be a part of it,” Echuca Specialist School’s Toby Hackney said.

A common theme for the students was to meet students from other schools — and improve their skills.

For some, their crash course on public speaking and perfect soundbites came on their very first day when they spoke with the Riverine Herald.

“I’m excited to meet new people from other schools in the area as well as get some experience in public speaking,” Moama Anglican Grammar School’s Rebecca Douglas said.

“I want more experience in leadership roles as well as to improve my public speaking — the lunches are a good bonus too,” River City Christian College’s Michael Pikokivaka joked.

And for others, it was just about making to most of the opportunity.

“I wanted to take up every possible opportunity to get everything out of my schooling — they say your school years are supposed to be the best years of your life,” Echuca College’s Sara McPherson said.

Beacon co-ordinator Cheryl Sweeney said the students of Echuca-Moama never failed to impress, and this year was no exception.

“The leadership day was to build all of our leaders’ skills in public speaking, networking and leadership,” she said.

“Plus the leaders hadn’t met each other prior to the day, so it was all about meeting each other and getting to know a bit about others as well as themselves.

“Every year we get a fantastic group through so we have another great bunch, they were all very nervous but by the end of the year they’ll be a very confident group of leaders.”