Year 10 camp was a life-changing experience for ACG Strathallan's Nathan Lang. Until then, he'd never considered becoming a leader, but after some encouragement from his teachers, he decided to give it a go.
Fast forward three years, and Nathan holds one of the school's top student leadership posts. Playing a pivotal role in shaping school culture, he organises events, instigates initiatives, co-leads the prefect team and contributes to some of the school's most impactful decisions. And as 2022 Head Boy, it's also Nathan's job to represent the student body and ensure everybody's opinions are heard.
"Becoming Head Boy has been my goal since Year 10 camp, and actually having this dream realised is incredible," says Nathan. "After signing up to be a peer mediator in Year 11, everything seemed to snowball. I found myself taking on more responsibility. And the more I took on, the more rewarding it became, as it provided an opportunity for me to give back to my school community."
Since taking up the reins as Head Boy seven months ago, Nathan has worked tirelessly to grow school spirit, support his fellow students and enhance the school community.
"Going into the year, I wanted to help facilitate the communication and collaboration between different roles in the prefect team, allowing for a more productive team overall. Therefore, I see my main responsibilities as leading the prefect team, assisting them in their individual tasks and contributing to the overall school culture. It's rewarding to know that you've played a meaningful part in the success of various school initiatives and events. And I love seeing the positive effect the prefects have on our school community."
Now that he has experienced the benefits of leadership firsthand, Nathan encourages all students to step up to the plate.
"It's really important for students to be involved in leadership because it allows the whole student body to be heard and represented. Plus, by being part of the prefect team, you learn how to lead in a supportive environment and gain the skills to become a capable and effective leader.
"For students wanting to become future leaders, my advice is to make the most of any opportunity Strathallan gives you. They will all be amazing experiences, and you'll look back on them fondly for the rest of your life. Not only that, but you will have built some amazing skills that will be incredibly useful in all walks of life."
But the opportunities Nathan refers to don't only pertain to leadership. During his time at the school, he has embraced all aspects of school life.
"I've been involved in rowing since Year 9, played rugby for the school in Year 11 and 12, I've done Mathex in Year 10, Epro8 and the World Vision 40-hour Famine for the last five years."
His biggest highlight? "Representing the school in the Antipodeans community service tour to Cambodia. It was awesome being given the opportunity to help one of the communities in Cambodia by beginning construction on a new toilet block for the local school. Not only did it feel good to travel there and make a tangible difference, but I made some great memories along the way."
Cherished memories like these will stay with Nathan beyond Year 13 as he moves into tertiary studies and eventually realises his goal of becoming a veterinarian.
"I've always been surrounded by animals – I absolutely love them – and the vet career allows me to combine my love of animals with my love of science, especially chemistry and biology. It's something that I feel Strathallan has prepared me well for."
For now, though, he's keen to make the most of his final months at a school he loves.
"I've really enjoyed the small size of ACG Strathallan. It allows for a great support system – you form close connections with your teachers, you have banter with them, and you get plenty of one-on-one time. Coming to a small school has definitely been a personal highlight."