When Year 11 student, Ciaran Noble, turned up to the training day for the Student Leadership Team (SLT), he didn’t expect to become part of the executive, or that two months down the track he’d be standing at the podium in a packed Ulumbarra Theatre helping host the 2021 Anzac Ceremony.

“I hadn’t planned to apply for the Year 11 Vice-President position, but Matt encouraged me to put my hand up.

“At the Anzac ceremony I was quite nervous before we went out onto the stage—but the veterans and special guests were so complimentary after the event.”

Ciaran has found SLT an ideal setting to build leadership skills, teamwork capacity and the confidence to speak with new people.

“Actually there are no negatives to being part of SLT,” he says. “I’m loving being in this extroverted group of people so keen to make a contribution.”

With executive responsibilities, and part of the media team, Ciaran is focused on building the enjoyment of BSSC students.

“I want everyone at BSSC to look forward to coming to school,” he says.

He’s also observed the reciprocal respect between staff and students is exemplified in SLT.

“While we are guided by the staff, we have a voice that’s taken seriously,” Ciaran says. “I would describe BSSC as ‘free’, ‘accepting’ and ‘inclusive’. It’s a fantastic environment if you’re eager to learn and keen to be independent… and I love not having to wear a uniform.”

As the year has unfolded Ciaran says he’s increasingly recognised the importance of a regular study routine and a place to study that really works.

“For me it’s the public library,” he says. “There are no interruptions but everyone sees—and expects—a student who is studying to keep their head down. It definitely helps keep me on track.”

While Ciaran particularly loves Physics and English, he really enjoys his other subjects too—Chemistry, Philosophy, Maths Methods and PE.

“The thing I love about Physics is that it’s a practical application of Maths,” he explains. “I wasn’t sure about Philosophy at first, but it’s opening my mind to views I disagree with as well as giving me some firm ground for some of my own ideas and opinions.”

Ciaran has no idea where this broad sweep of subjects will lead him, and is open to a range of pathways.

“I’m interested in so much,” he laughs, “not just something related to Physics or English. I can imagine working as a foreign correspondent or even a lawyer.”

Ciaran is grateful for the values his parents have taught him and knows whatever he does, he wants to make a positive difference in the world.

“I was taught to be thoughtful of others and I hope I can make someone’s life better,” he says.

Reflecting over his life so far, Ciaran is most proud of his achievements during the 2020 Covid lockdown.

As a person who particularly loves the social side of anything he’s doing, including school, he struggled to stay motivated. But he persevered and was awarded Student of the Year at Eaglehawk Secondary College.

Ciaran has also been a sporting high achiever. He began playing volleyball in Grade 4 and made his way through the ranks to become Captain of the Victorian Country Team in 2018.

He still plays with a local team and for the Phantoms who compete in a state league. Again, it’s the team atmosphere he loves.

“Everyone’s accountable and we all depend on each other,” he says.

This natural team spirit also flows into Ciaran’s love of music.

“I learnt piano initially, then I taught myself guitar and took up clarinet,” he explains. “I most enjoy playing clarinet with the Bendigo Symphonic Band. I love the way we all sync with each other.”

Asked which person—alive or dead—he would most like to have a conversation with, Ciaran nominates Martin D. Ginsberg, the husband of former US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

“He showed what it means to empower your partner to pursue their dreams and I’d love to think I could do this too,” Ciaran says. “He was Ruth’s greatest advocate, and though he had his own legal career, he knew when to step back—a great skill for any leader.”

And if Ciaran could go back in time and offer some advice to his 12-year-old self, he start by telling him not to worry so much about the opinions of others. Ruth Bader Ginsburg would no doubt be impressed by Ciaran’s advice.

“If you’re not doing the things you value, then there’s no point doing them,” he’d say. “So be happy not to conform to what others want you to be—the right friends will come along and they don’t need you to be cool.”