Inspired by the work and commitment of previous student leaders, becoming Head Girl has been an aspiration of Ashley’s for the past four years. Understandably, she was thrilled when she heard of her appointment to the top job.
“I was so over-the-moon happy. I’m incredibly grateful and really excited to work with the prefect team for 2021. I also understand the weight of responsibility. The head prefects set the tone, which then carries on to the rest of the school. It’s important that we create a welcoming and positive environment, embodying the school’s motto ‘Pride in Achievement’ and constantly demonstrating Strathallan’s core values of pride, respect, integrity and compassion.”
Ashley believes her participation in student leadership has helped shape both her education and the person she has become. It has encouraged her to make a “positive and long-term impact” on a school that she loves while providing valuable experiences and opportunities to learn and grow outside of the classroom.
“Being involved in the leadership team promotes a sense of responsibility. It allows us to make positive change and means that you learn lifelong skills such as teamwork, organisation, time management and much more.”
The community-minded teen is well prepared for the responsibilities and challenges her new position will bring. Since joining Strathallan in 2017, she has been an active representative in many areas of student leadership, including the Batten House committee, the Languages and Culture Ambassadors committee, and serving as joint head of the sports council in 2020.
However, her desire to pay forward the kindness and support she was shown by older students has been her biggest motivation.
“Being taken under the wing of older girls when I joined the school’s Premier Netball team in Year 9 made it so much easier for me to settle into school life, and I want to try and help as many students as possible have that same experience. Being recognised by younger students as Head Girl, Head Boy, or a prefect means it’s easier for them to approach us. And a friendly, familiar face encourages new students to chat to us if they’re nervous, need advice or even just some company.”
In fact, the family culture at Strathallan is one of Ashley’s favourite things about the school and is one reason she has found it to be such a perfect fit.
“Older students often tend to take younger ones under their wing, especially on sports teams and with other extracurricular activities. This opportunity to form close friendships across different year groups is something that made my school-life so enjoyable. And I love that as students we are constantly supported and that every success is celebrated. If you are willing to work hard, the teachers have all the tools needed to help you reach your potential.”
As one of Strathallan’s top scholars, Ashley is a role model in the truest sense of the word. The busy all-rounder is currently completing her Duke of Edinburgh bronze award, with plans to begin the silver level programme soon.
Additionally, one of her major goals for 2021 is to highlight the school’s sporting community.
“Strathallan is perceived as a largely academic school, but in reality, we have so many talented athletes and sporting opportunities, as well as an amazing music and arts programme. School spirit is very strong – it’s really cool to be on the netball court supported and cheered on by other students. Growing this feeling of culture not only within the school but to the outside community is something Harry [2021 Head Boy Harry Winter] and I would love to do.”
For younger students looking to become future head prefects, Ashley has the following advice to guide them on their leadership journey.
“Remain genuine in your character. The person you are, how you act and what you do when people are looking and when people aren’t looking should be the same. It’s also super important to remember that leadership doesn’t start when you apply for the position; it starts the very first day that you arrive at Strathallan. With this in mind, get involved, immerse yourself in school life!”