When Alex Brodie first stepped through the gates of ACG Tauranga in 2020, she never dreamed she'd eventually become Head Prefect.
But fast forward two years, and the busy teen is not only at the helm of the student leadership team, but she's playing an indispensable role in shaping the future of daily life at ACG Tauranga.
"I thoroughly believe that being part of our student leadership team is a great way to become immersed in our community and create change for the better," says Alex, who flourished last year in her role as Learning Pillar Ambassador. "This is something I'm passionate about, so joining the student leadership team has always been an aim of mine,"
While becoming a part of the student leadership team was one thing, Alex never imagined she'd be appointed to the top job.
"It really was a moment of astonishment! Having only started at ACG Tauranga in 2020, my Year 11 self would have never dreamt of this being possible. Of course, you always aim for the top, but when you actually get there, you can't believe it; all your hard work has paid off, and you're just speechless."
Now several months into the role, Alex has been working tirelessly to help develop the leadership skills of her peers and establish new school traditions that create a sense of pride and belonging.
"Being Head Prefect is definitely a big challenge where no two days are ever the same. I consider my main responsibilities to be leading by example and setting a high standard for other students to follow. Plus, as the Head Prefect position is a figurehead role, it's important to represent the school appropriately in the wider community too. Our student leadership team this year brings so many different strengths, and I'm really enjoying working with everyone to make our school and community a better place."
Finding fresh ways to showcase school spirit and connect the older year groups with the younger students have been among Alex's top priorities, inspired in part by her own experiences when she started at the school.
"ACG Tauranga has such a close community with a really strong bond. The school's kind, caring, and inclusive culture helped me settle in so well in Year 11. Everyone was so welcoming and engaging."
Now it's Alex's turn to strengthen those bonds and ensure all students feel encouraged and supported.
"I believe a good leader needs to have a strong sense of community and an objective of bringing everyone together, so everyone reaches their full potential. This goes hand in hand with being a good role model and demonstrating a selfless attitude. In addition, the school values of courage, respect, integrity and excellence are also values that should be visible in a leader."
These skills and values have become an intrinsic part of life for Alex since starting at the school, and she has embraced every opportunity to grow and succeed, both academically and in her extracurricular pursuits.
"My personal ACG highlight has been seeing myself flourish academically, but I've also enjoyed playing in ACG Tauranga's futsal and netball teams, coaching and umpiring netball, and being a member of the Rotary Interact Club and the Ball Committee. Being at ACG Tauranga has taught me the valuable lesson that success only comes from hard work. You need to be dedicated and disciplined to achieve your goals, and preparation and planning go hand-in-hand with hard work."
They're important lessons to learn and will serve Alex well next year when she heads off to the University of Auckland to embark on a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce conjoint degree.
Her advice for future leaders coming up through the ranks behind her?
"Be your authentic self, engage with others and encourage them, and just lead by example. The behaviour of the people you lead is only a reflection of yourself."