With their futures just around the corner, facing into Year 12 brings with it a satchel full of new challenges for high school students.
But for 65 students about to start their last year in school, the path ahead has just become a lot less daunting.
Griffith University’s 2017 Future Leaders Retreat brought students from 40 schools, stretching from Casino in NSW to Cairns in Far North Queensland, to its Gold Coast campus for three days of career mentoring and inspiring sessions.
Designed to help students prepare for the transition to university, this year’s retreat started with Deputy Vice Chancellor (Engagement), Professor Martin Betts, formally welcoming the group.
It offered students exclusive career development and networking opportunities and a potentially life-changing chance to develop their leadership skills.
Be the best leader you can be
Griffith student, Madaline Hartwig, encouraged all participants to grab the opportunity with both hands.
“It is designed to foster a mindset among the students to be the best leaders they can be,” Madaline (20) said. “The students will have walked away feeling inspired and determined after relating to the presenters or imagining where their future may take them.”
Madaline, who is entering the fourth year of a double degree in Law and Government and International Relations, addressed the student group on the theme of ‘Making Your Mark’. She also took part in the inaugural retreat in 2016.
“I was an aspiring leader when I was in high school, just like the students who participated in the Retreat. For me, the 2016 Retreat was a reminder of the passions, goals and aspirations I had in high school and it inspired me to pursue my interests in public speaking itself.”
The student group heard from Sonia McDonald (above), CEO and Founder of Leadership HQ and a graduate of Griffith Business School who will speak to them on ‘Leadership Attitude’ on day one.
During Day 2, a session on ‘Perspectives on Leadership’ included contributions from Olympic gold medallist and manager of Griffith Sports College, Naomi McCarthy; ICT lecturer and emerging technology expert, Dr Leigh-Ellen Potter; and 3D-printing student, Kaecee Fitzgerald.
“Since these students are all embarking on their final year of high year, they have shared ideas, worries and goals,” Madaline Hartwig said.
“While it’s important for them to see the bigger picture and be inspired by our line-up of presenters, students should remember that it’s just as important to practice balance, mindfulness and gratitude and to enjoy meeting new people.”
On the final day of the 2017 Retreat, Claire Madden (left), Director of Hello Clarity, explored ‘The Future of Work’ with the group.
Across the three days, students participated in a series of workshops and interactive sessions, ranging from theatre and drumming to presentation skills and personality tests. They also learned more about facilities at Griffith through tours of the Engineering Lab, Robotics Lab, Health Centre and Red Zone.
Griffith will also provide 12 months of ongoing development opportunities for retreat participants, through career mentoring and opportunities to attend events, courses and conferences throughout 2017.
“The retreat is recognition that these students are high achieving, aspiring leaders,” Madaline Hartwig says.