Sydenham High students face their fears to learn about leadership

‘Face your fear and do it anyway’ was the advice to Sydenham High sixth formers looking to the future, from round-the-world yachtswoman, Tracy Edwards MBE. She was speaking to them, along with several hundred of their of their peers, at the start of the annual Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) Young Leaders’ Conference in Bath last weekend (26-28 September).

Sydenham High’s joint head girls, Tallulah Boote-Bond and Alex Terrieux-Taylor, soon had to test that advice and step out of their comfort zone as the delegates were divided into groups to tackle an Apprentice-style challenge.  Each group had to design and market a charity fundraising event for one of the annual conference’s four nominated charities: The Children’s Society, Water Aid, The Eve Appeal and learning disabilities charity Hft.

Using budgeting skills, market research from the public and their social media knowledge, the groups submitted proposals and delivered presentations to their peers and a panel of judges. The results were impressive, highlighting imaginative talent and strong teamwork.

17-year old Tallulah was on the winning team for Water Aid, coming up with a strong social media campaign and a sponsored ‘Water March’ to mimic the distances that some developing world communities have to walk daily to obtain clean water.  Her team’s campaign was also judged to be the one which would theoretically have made the most money for the charity.

“I really enjoyed the process and the pressure which really made us bond as a team,” said Tallulah. “I learned a lot in a short time: about marketing and sponsorship and about my own strengths and the things I need to improve on.”

Alex said: “It was very tough but an amazing outcome. I learned that you can’t always take the lead in a team and you need to play to people’s strengths.”

Kathryn Pullen, Headteacher at Sydenham High said: “We want to equip our girls to go out into the world prepared to confront the challenges they will face as they work their way up to leadership. The GDST Young Leaders’ Conference provides them with tangible life skills and a great insight into the world of work that I’m sure they will remember for years to come.”