Captain’s Call: Ave Maria College’s Vanessa D’Andrea and Yasmine Athaide

School Captains Vanessa and Yasmine at Ave Maria College. Photo: Greg Briggs

School Captains Vanessa and Yasmine at Ave Maria College. Photo: Greg Briggs

Ave Maria College’s co-school captains Vanessa D’Andrea and Yasmine Athaide have learnt the importance of being authentic and relatable leaders since starting in their roles this year. They are working to empower young women to become leaders of the future.

Why did you both want to be school captain?

We both wanted to take on a new challenge and develop skills allowing us to be able to work with a wide range of people. Working together in a partnership, we felt we were more than able to lead the young women of Ave Maria; challenging each individual to embrace and put into practice their unique talents and abilities on a more frequent basis.

We wanted to break the stereotype of women in leadership – particularly in the workforce – so we aim for each student to feel empowered and gain independence so they feel equipped for life after the conclusion of their secondary school journey.

We felt we could provide the students with a positive learning culture, enabling each individual to feel capable of achieving their goals.

What have you learnt as school captain?

There are many skills we have learnt through our work as school leaders. These include being able to negotiate through communicating to the college executive and student body. We have also learnt the importance of being authentic and relatable leaders the young women of Ave Maria can look up to and seek guidance from.

We’ve also become more resilient by learning through our mistakes and maintaining an optimistic approach to keep moving forward in our studies and in our role as leaders.

Is there a leader whom you look up to or admire?

We both look up to actress Emma Watson – through her work of launching the campaign “HeForShe” she was recognised as a strong female leader. She used her status as a platform to promote gender equality and inspire young women to aim high and feel worthy of themselves – as we aim to do.

What are the qualities of a good leader in your view?

We believe the qualities that make a good leader include:

  • Being respectful of those around them;
  • Being a good communicator;
  • Someone who is able to work with others;
  • Being efficient and reliable;
  • Having resilience;
  • Being committed and motivated to the task at hand.

What are your future plans?

Our immediate future plans as school captains include continuing to strengthen relationships between students and staff at Ave Maria College. We also want to ensure students continue to challenge themselves and break down barriers they face inside and outside of school.

We are also working to strive for academic excellence, something which we are encouraging other students at the college to do.

Our plans also include introducing more frequent initiatives throughout the year to increase student participation and interaction among various year levels.

Vanessa: When I complete my studies I want to go to university next year. I haven’t decided exactly what course I would like to study but the area that interests me is exercise and sport science working with professional athletes.

As well as going to university, I am hoping to get a part-time job while studying, preferably working in a field related to fitness as I have my certificate III in sport and recreation.

Yasmine: I’m looking to attend university next year and I eventually want to work in the medical industry. At the moment I’m unsure about the field I’d like to specialise in.

I’m also intending to spend time travelling, however this won’t be directly after finishing at Ave Maria College.

Ave Maria College, 14-22 Vida Street, Aberfeldie.


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