The Royal Belfast Academical Institution

All Ireland Senior Prefects Conference

On Friday 20th September 2019, it was the privilege of the RBAI Head of School and Deputy Heads to attend the All Ireland Senior Prefects Conference, held at St Columba’s College, Dublin.
26-September-19

On Friday 20th September 2019, it was the privilege of the RBAI Head of School and Deputy Heads to attend the All Ireland Senior Prefects Conference, held at St Columba’s College, Dublin. The event was facilitated by the Wellington College Leadership Institute, a group focused on developing leadership skills in young people and helping them contribute to wider society. As expected, attending the conference were representatives from HMC schools both from the Republic of Ireland and from Northern Ireland, granting us a fantastic opportunity to discuss and consider other schools’ approaches to leadership within their respective school communities.

As to the conference itself, we enjoyed a well planned day with multiple interactive sessions about developing the qualities required to lead effectively, no doubt enhanced by the beautiful grounds of St Columba’s College. The opening sessions focused on attributes and values that one should find in a leader, whilst the later ones sought to inspire us to leave a lasting legacy in our respective institutions, with the highlight of course being the motivational address delivered by Alex Panayotou.

Alex Panayotou, an alumna of St Columba’s College, is a motivational speaker and ultra athlete, famed for completing extraordinary challenges such as running 400km with minimal rest (one of five women in the world to have achieved such feats) and achieving second place in the Barcelona Marathon. She now works as a keynote speaker, working to inspire and promote a positive attitude amongst companies and individuals alike. The main message of her speech, featuring her inspirational story about her journey from depression to positivity, hinged on the concept of excellence within each individual. She encouraged each person to tap into their own unique excellence, quoting that ancient saying from Athens, γνῶθι σεαυτόν (know yourself) as she developed her point, which tied in very well to our own school mottos, excellence and participation and Quaerere Verum (seek the truth).

All in all, it was an excellent day which greatly profited us, as we seek to improve our school and leave a lasting legacy which will change the school for the better. We express our gratitude to the hosts, St Columba’s College, and to the leaders, the Wellington College Leadership Institute, for the hard work and dedication which made the conference such a success. We’d also like to thank Mr Peak for taking time out of his busy schedule to drive us to Dublin and back.

Keelan Sloan, Josh Patterson, and Solomon Trimble

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