After 10 months as Head Prefects, Morgan Warner and Ewan Halliday are preparing to pass the leadership baton to next year’s leaders. These two Grade 12 students, along with the rest of the Prefect Council, Heads of Councils and Heads of Houses, have played an important role in shaping our school community this year and for years to come.
We asked Ewan and Morgan to reflect upon their year as Head Prefects at SMUS:
What’s one challenge you overcame this year and what did you learn from the experience?
Ewan – It seems to me as if this year has passed in the blink of an eye. It boggles my mind to think that move-in day in September was almost 10 months ago. We learned quickly that in the 10 months we had together, it would be impossible to accomplish everything on our ‘to do’ list. The time crunch was definitely my biggest challenge. And although it was a challenge, it certainly made me more appreciative of my role and other leadership roles. Having seen previous students in the role, having now done it myself and having successors taught me that everyone will approach their year of service with an individual zeal. I realize now that having more than just one perspective is very beneficial to the school. Morgan and I have done what we can, but future students deserve their chance to leave their legacy here. More than anything, I have learned that leaders in the school are part of one large team, even across graduating classes, with a common goal.
Morgan – A challenge that I found, especially at the beginning of the year, is the harsh reality that it is impossible to please everybody all the time. I really love to be able to make people happy but I was spending large amounts of time stressing over it instead of finding joy in it. It was an issue that could be fixed by nobody but myself, and so I had to come to terms with the fact that you can not always be perfect. I learned that sometimes all you can do is listen to others and do your best with that. I did not want anyone to think that I was not listening to their ideas or problems, so I learned the value of feedback and follow-up. Facing this challenge taught me that communication is key in leadership and that when all else fails you need to trust yourself and your skills.
What were some of your highlights of the school year as Head Prefects?
Morgan – This is a hard question, but our trips down to the Junior School might be my favourite moments. I loved getting to see the curiosity and excitement that the program is fostering. Not to mention, everything is so tiny and full of life down there – how can you not love it? The proudest moments of my year as Head Prefect are definitely the times when I was able to see the whole school come together. Of course, the Christmas Assembly is a standout, but smaller events, like the Emily Reid concert night, student-run chapels and house games, are what made my year. I loved getting to see people showcase their talents and be proud of the community that they are a part of.
Ewan – The year was full of memorable moments, which makes the exercise of selecting one highlight a challenging one. I will never forget the feeling of helping new students move into their rooms at the beginning of the year, with a mixture of enthusiasm and uncertainty on their faces. There was definitely an optimistic energy in the air that day. Another one would have to be the Halloween fireworks on the field. I’ve never been the best at creating unique costumes, but to see most of the school in one place watching the spectacle was a special moment for me. My final highlight would be the one we’re living right now: grad week. After the year of hard work, it is uplifting to see the positivity on people’s faces one last time.
What advice would you offer the next generations of student leaders?
Morgan – If I were to give one piece of advice to any future leaders it would be to always stay kind and open-minded. Always keep in mind the good of the community that you are affecting, and work for that. If something that you do can make one person’s day brighter, then you have succeeded and you can only go up from there. Also, remember that you have many people supporting you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or alternate opinions from your community. A leader who only relies on themselves is a selfish one, and you must be able to listen and learn from others.
Ewan – After completing my high school journey, I must have at least one or two pieces of advice for younger students. The advice I would give the Kindergarten class is the same advice my mom gave me when I started Kindergarten in 2006: “Eat the vegetables in your lunch, they are there for a reason!” To tomorrow’s leaders, expect adversity and remember that you are strong and capable in those adverse moments. More than once have I been blown away by the resilience of other students. Your own attitude can be your greatest asset, so use it wisely! In terms of making use of your time at the school, well, Morgan and I always tell each other, “You have only one chance to go through high school. How will you remember your journey?” This constant reminder helps us identify our priorities and appreciate every day, even the challenging ones. Each day at SMUS is its own adventure, you don’t want to miss out!