Class of 2021 Community Engagement and Leadership Award Recipients
Sr M Luka Juenemann
Student Life and Alumni Relations Officer
The ongoing Community Engagement and Leadership Award Program inspires students to do volunteering, take on leadership roles at Campion, and seek out opportunities for professional development. These activities encourage them to be pushed out of their comfort zones. This year’s recipients have been able to stay engaged despite the pandemic lockdowns attesting that their understanding of volunteering has widened immensely.
Anna Burton, the treasurer of Campion’s Theatre Society is a student who tries to be organised with study looking ahead when scheduling her time. The activities undertaken in the award program helped her to develop people and leadership skills. She says it is most important to “know the people you are leading.” Volunteering with the Culture Project she learnt to differentiate between sympathy and empathy being enabled to connect with people on a deeper level and not just having pity on them. Visiting homeless around Sydney most Friday or Saturday evenings during a normal semester with a group of other students, she gratefully remembers that the homeless thanked them for spending their time with them quite often.
The president of Campion’s newly established Vinnies Society, Bradley McDonald, says that he always had an interest in helping homeless people, and raising awareness on how we can help them. After organising events for Campion students in this role, he stresses that he is now “more comfortable asking others to help”, whether it be in volunteering their own time to help others or for some extra support with organising events. Bradley also regularly distributes food to the homeless with the Vinnies Sydney Night Patrol. In addition, he has also volunteered his time at Santa Sophia Catholic College, Box Hill, which was a great way to test himself as a future teacher, a career he intends on pursuing after his time at Campion College. This experience, in particular, helped him to gain confidence in the secondary school classroom environment, which he appreciated in regards to both personal and professional development.
Paul Murphy, Campion’s Theatre Society President learnt to juggle different tasks at the same time in his leadership position which required him to prioritise and recognise the different talents of the people he is working with. Handing things over, knowing when to seek assistance and realising that he does not need to do it all on his own where valuable learning experiences. Paul also volunteers his time at Esencia Café in his hometown Lavington which offers pregnancy and post abortion counselling, pregnancy tests and support for struggling mothers. His support role making coffee etc. was a worthwhile way spending his free time in semester breaks. At the beginning of the year, Paul trained as a catechist with the Archdiocese of Sydney together with many other Campion students and taught in two Year 9 boys classes. One of the challenges he encountered was trying to be relatable to the students, while at the same time being in a position of authority in the classroom.
The Vinnies Society’s Treasurer Lauren Brodie had promised herself at the start of the year to say yes to any opportunity arising. So, she found herself in the society’s executive team. She highlights that it took some time to find out about each other’s strengths and learn how to work together. After this initial process, it was a great experience to reach out to students to pack snack packs for Vinnies Night patrol and organise a winter sleepout. Even though many of the other ideas could not eventuate due to covid, it was still possible to raise awareness for people less fortunate in our society. She also volunteered with St Luke’s Catholic School and learnt how to be professional around children. Sitting on Campion’s Academic Board as student representative was another such opportunity through which she stretched herself. She reflects that she became more assertive and able to think on the fly through this experience. She also taught fellow students Japanese in her free time through which she acquired the skills of right timing, being precise and logical. Having completed the award she says she will try and do more of this in the future.
Campion College is very proud of its 2021 CELA recipients and hopes many more students will make use of this opportunity to showcase their leadership skills and engagement in the wider community. It is also a great way to get to know oneself finding out about one’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to vocation and future career pathways. The College would like to thank all students who are currently engaged in leadership and community volunteering. Please, keep up the good work!