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“Amazing” is how Year 11 student Sabrina describes feeling after being elected as 2023 School Captain at Leeton High School by students and staff.
Sabrina’s selection is not so surprising considering the strength of her school assembly presentation about what makes a good leader, says her former Hands on Learning (or 'HoL' for short) artisan-teacher Patrick Hubatka. How did a shy student who joined HoL in Year 9 feeling the stress of school life, at times lacking the confidence to take a chance and unsure of the strength of her connection with friends, transform into school captain? “Working with different people, connecting as a team in HoL really set me up. I like being a role model and I love listening to other people’s opinions,” Sabrina says.
Anyone has a talent, anyone is capable. In HoL we were able to express what we could do over a range of projects. We were a little group, a team, we felt safe, and we collaborated with each other. In HoL you work with different personalities and different ways to do things. A lot of people in the group had more practical skills than me. That’s where the collaboration comes in. I know when I accomplished the tasks, I felt a break from my doubts. When you achieve you think wow I can do it, I didn’t know I could.
According to Patrick, being in HoL allowed Sabrina to step away from stress, to relax, learn, and achieve. When she returned to mainstream class, she had a new mindset. Sabrina adds, “HoL is like a break from the stress of school, it reminds you that it is ok to have a break and learn new things.” Sabrina considers the strength in the mentoring from older students as a major positive. “Students joined HoL with a number of different needs. We had one student who was really shy and didn’t speak much. His attendance was below 50 per cent. Now he has now come out of his shell, is enthusiastic, and at school all the time.
In HoL we had the opportunity to teach each other things, work as a team and encourage each other to do stuff we didn’t know we could do. You spend a day together teaching each other new things. Anyone has a talent, anyone is capable. In HoL we were able to express what we could do over a range of projects. We were a little group, a team, we felt safe, and we collaborated with each other. As school captain I want to bring light and allow people to shine.” Sabrina plans to go to university and study teaching – an exciting promise to the future.