Student Investiture and Beacon Charter Speech

Following is the motivating speech given by Sonia van Kempen, of the Beacon Foundation,  at the recent student investiture and Beacon Charter ceremony.



16TH MARCH 2012

It’s my honour to be here at Hawkesdale P-12 College and to participate in this very special day.  It’s great to see so many leaders in the school community formally recognised today and I’m sure they will do an outstanding job fulfilling their roles this year.

So what makes these students different to any of you who aren’t undertaking leadership roles this year?  What makes them leadership material?   If you think about this you will probably come up with answers such as “they are good communicators,”  “they are team players,”  “they are hard working,”  “they are confident,” and so on.  You are right; there are many qualities and skills that good leaders have but you also have these qualities inside you, they may need to be developed and improved but you have them.  Do you know what I think the big difference is?  It’s very simple. I think it’s the fact that they’ve decided to stand up and say “YES, I can do it!”  “I can set a good example to others and be a leader in my school and my community.”

We can all be leaders in our own lives.  The Beacon program is all about getting you to recognise what you are good at and using this information to be successful.  Great leaders do this.  The find out what they good at and then they become exceptional at it!

Every one of you in this room has the ability to be a leader everyday of your life if you CHOOSE to – and it is a choice, you have to want to do it.  Being a leader isn’t about being the boss or being in control – this is what we usually think but it’s wrong.  Being a leader is all about setting a good example, using your words, your actions and most importantly your influence to have a positive impact on yourself and those around you.  Being a leader is about making good decisions and having the right attitude.

There’s an old saying relating to this that I think is very true – “ATTITUDE DETERMINES ALTITUDE!”  Put quite simply this means the way you look at things or think about things influences your chances of reaching your potential and being successful.  The more positive and encouraging you can be in your life, the greater impact and influence you will have on your peers and the more willing people will be to help you achieve your goals.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re doing opportunities to be a leader exist everywhere.  It’s what you do with these opportunities that will determine what sort of person you are and how successful you can be.

My advice for you today and everyday is to take these opportunities to lead, no matter how small or insignificant they seem.  It may be something as simple as taking the initiative to clean your room without being asked to, helping someone with a problem at school or work, or accepting an umpire’s decision at football or netball without argument

The more you practice and develop your leadership skills and potential, the more they will grow and eventually you may find yourself up here on a day like today being recognised as a student leader in your school.  It all starts with a belief in yourself. Remember what I said earlier, good leaders work hard to make good decisions and good choices.  In dong this they lead by their example and inspire others around them to do the same.

In conclusion I’d just like to revisit the point I made at the beginning of my talk.  There is a leader inside each one of you.   Don’t keep your leader hidden, put it on display everyday for the world to see.  Embrace your inner leader, show him or her off to the world and enjoy the sense of self worth, achievement and success that comes with being a leader.

Thank you for listening to me today, I wish each and every one of you all the best for your school year in 2012 and your future beyond.  I hope to see many of you up here next year setting a great example for others to follow.

   SONIA VAN KEMPEN     16/03/2012



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About murch

Hi, I am Anne Mirtschin, a secondary teacher who teaches commerce and IT. In 2007, I am teaching grade 3 through to year 12 IT. My passions include the use of web2.0, podcasting and multimedia including digital animations. I teach at Hawkesdale prep to year 12 College, a small country school in Western Victoria, Australia. This year our school has been granted a rich picture case studies grant where we will work with grade 6 students on pod/vidcasting and the volunteers at the Penshurst Volcano Discovery Centre to produce podcasts for the centre and surrounding volcanic district, called Kanawinka.

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