It was their final meeting together as a student leadership team.
“From Ms Colnan and all of us as the staff of the School, I want you to know how much we appreciated having you as student leaders this year,” Mary said.
“I want to reassure you that each and everyone of you have impacted on the life of the School.
“Your legacy will continue into the next year of leaders. A really big thank you.”
IGS Leader Felix Tonkin presented an Acknowledgement of Country, before Head of High School Anthony Dennehy introduced special guest, Bella Basaglia (2007).
Bella studied Civil Engineering at UTS, and now works as a Design Coordinator for Richard Crookes Constructions.
“Bella was really passionate about the School, she was really creative. She’s gone through some challenges as everyone does when they leave school and go out into world and study,” Anthony said.
Bella commended the Class of 2021 for their success throughout such a challenging year.
“I can’t imagine how stressed you must be and on top of that to be School Leaders. You should be really proud of yourselves on how far you have come,” Bella said.
“I was thinking back to when I was in your position and what leadership advice into the real world I would have valued.
“As a leader you are serving others. You have to articulate your vision to the team, build others up around you and step in to make hard decisions when it’s needed.
“The most important thing is to make strong connections with others in your peer group, and it’s that strong connection that allows them to trust in you and your leadership abilities. I think you have already done that.”
Upon reflection, Bella shared three points of advice with students. She hopes these three pieces of advice will transition students from School Leaders into leaders in the world.
1. Know your values.
Drawing on her interest for Maths and an eye opening trip to India in Year 11, Bella said she decided her career needed to contribute towards building better communities.
2. Say yes to opportunities.
Shortly into her career, Bella was offered an opportunity to do a PhD in Mass Timber Engineering.
“I was really happy to be given this opportunity but I was really scared. I really second guessed my abilities to do something like this in the middle of my career,” she said.
“Looking back, I think that was a really good decision for me. Doing the PhD did have a pause on my working life, but it’s opened a lot of doors and allowed me to go to Japan, study and live there which had been my dream for a long time.
“I had been asked to research mass timber and the sustainability aspect of building. It was the most challenging time of my career, but it gave me a unique opportunity to understand myself more and trust my own abilities.”
3. Back yourself.
“Towards the end of my PhD I started to think about what my next steps were. Did I want to stay in academia or go into industry? Through this decision making process, it made me reassess my values and steered my career towards that interest. I had to back myself and forget about what people might think of me and expect of me, and make that leap.
“I really do love my job,” she said. “It’s really exciting to see a build come to life. If I hadn’t trusted myself at that point in making the decision, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today.
“Say yes to opportunities that may scare you initially. Back yourself, and good luck with the HSC.”
Mary thanked Bella for inspiring our students. She farewelled the students by saying “Believe in yourself because we believe in you.”