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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
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Where there's a Will,
there's a rincipal
BY MARK MOWBRAY
Principal Mark Mowbray and principal for a day, Will Clark. Photo courtesy of
Great Lakes Advocate.
P many ways because it has developed my
"When I was back to being a regular student,
I was pretty relieved because I'll admit I
was a bit bored being cooped up in the
You may wish to visit www.forster.
catholic.edu.au and www.sp4d.edu.au
Principal Mark Mowbray stepped aside for a
day to allow a Year 6 student to step into his
shoes. He reports on the experience.
Recently, Year 6 student at Holy Name
Primary School, Forster, Will Clark, was
selected from amongst many applicants
to be Student Principal for a Day. This is a
new concept from the Principals Australia
Institute (PAI) as part of a campaign to raise
the profile of, and appreciation for, school
Students from thirty Catholic schools
around Australia were given the chance to
take on the top job at their school for a day.
Will was very excited! In his application, Will
raised a few concerns about what went on
behind the scenes as a principal.
"After many years of attendance at Holy
Name Primary School, I have come to
suspect that our school is in fact a cover for
a secret organisation. It is for this reason I
wish to apply for the position of Principal for
a day. This role would offer me the ultimate
opportunity to uncover my suspicions! I
would be able to look into the involvement
of staff, the recruitment of parents, the truth
about the Reflection Room and, of course,
the covert training of the Principal himself."
By the end of Will's day in charge, Will and I
had discussed the role and responsibilities
of a school principal, he had made a class
visit to Year 3/4, helped Mrs Hannigan with
playground duty, been interviewed by the
Great Lakes Advocate and written all the
Student of the Week awards. Students
from K-6 were really interested in all he was
doing and he created vibrant interest across
the school. Will went home fairly close to
exhausted, like the real principal often does!
The program allowed primary and
secondary students to take part in a
number of leadership opportunities and
contribute to a national online conversation
about issues relevant to students.
"As a principal, I know how important it is to
provide young people with opportunities
to stretch their capacity as thinkers and
leaders," says Jim Davies, CEO of PAI.
"This is a fantastic time to listen to student
voices from all around Australia, and a
simple way to help students value the role
of their principal and the school leadership
"The principalship is something to aspire
to; my hope is that Student Principal for a
Day will inspire young people to consider a
career in education - or even to become a
principal one day."
Reflecting on his experience, Will Clark said,
"I learnt that the role of the principal was very
important to the school and its teachers.
To be principal, you have to be responsible
because the whole school is depending on
you. This experience has changed me in
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