By Taylor Navarro

    Going for school captain? It sounds easy enough on paper. Well, sort of (at least when you’re not actively doing it). There are three steps that make up the process: 

    1. Send your application. 
    2. Sit the interview with the dreaded ‘panel’. 
    3. And then make your speech. 

    There was a small problem with that last one. Between the results of the interview and the actual day of the speech, there was only one day to get help from past captains and teachers to actually write it and prepare. That day was on a Wednesday. A VET day, which, for students like me, meant that we had to leave early to participate in an external class, sacrificing the help and guidance in writing that speech. 

    Which meant that mine was inevitably going to be different. 

    Leading up to the morning of the speech, we had a thirty minute rehearsal. I was nervous. I’d written it the day before Wednesday without knowing if I’d passed or not and gotten all the help I could since I wasn’t going to be there for the help meeting. I’d sought help from teachers, students at school, students at VET, and obviously mother-dearest. I’d stayed up past midnight perfecting and practicing and now it was time. 

    And as everyone went up and did their speech, I started to panic more and more. Because oh no. I didn’t have any jokes in mine. I didn’t have any facts about myself either apart from the ones I’d thought were most relevant to the speech, like my past leadership roles and commitments. So while everyone else was funny, down-to-earth and conversational…

    I sounded like I was going for 2024 Prime Minister. It was so, so Hollywood. 

    I contemplated throwing in a few jokes, even if I didn’t really mean them or understand them. Or even listing a few things about myself to make myself look more human and less aggressive. I felt like because my speech didn’t match the other candidates I was losing out somehow. But here’s the thing. 

    I got School Co-Captain without changing my speech. 

    So here is my top advice and why I think I got it.

    If you’re going for leadership…

    Good luck! 

    Not getting the help.

    Writing the speech before getting any advice meant that my first draft was honest. I’m naturally not very funny or relaxed and being told that those were the things I should be when talking would have resulted in a completely different speech. 

    Getting feedback from a range of different people. 

    People are bound to say different things, especially depending on their experiences. I asked people who went to private schools and public schools. I asked English teachers and normal teachers, I asked my mum and my dad. What they all said in common I kept or changed, and what they said differently gave me something to think about and consider. 

    What you can give to them. 

    What was most unique about my speech was that it wasn’t even about me, and instead about what I could give to the people I wanted to lead. My goal was to amplify the student voice, so I said that. I wanted more opportunities to express peoples’ hobbies and interests, so I said that. This made my speech more relevant and it gave my audience more to think about. 

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