Our first female, Indigenous Co-Captain Lemarna Valentine was appointed in Term 1, 2024 with friend and Co-Captain, Ollie Sills. As we approach the new term, we took the opportunity to interview her to see how she was finding her leadership role during Semester 1.
Tell me a little about yourself?
I’m Lemarna Valentine, I’ve always lived in Perth but most of my Aboriginal family live in Queensland, which makes me a Kubbi Kubbi and Goreng Goreng women, which is close to Bundaberg in Queensland. I’ve spent most of my life at Guildford, I used to live in Guildford and I’ve attended the School since Kindy.
What is your leadership role at Guildford Grammar School and what does this entail?
My leadership role is Co-Captain with Oliver Sills. What we do includes speeches at different school events, help organise different school events with the Prefect body and act as the face of the School in the sense that we represent the student body.
As the first female Indigenous Co-Captain, what does this mean to you?
Being the first Indigenous Co-Captain is a huge honor for me; I’m extremely proud of it. I think for me, I feel the need to respect my Indigenous heritage and make sure that I stay true to myself and what my idea of leadership is. Growing up, kindness and warmth are what stand out to me as being really important leadership attributes, so I try to employ that into how I present myself as a leader. And I think this is mainly because of the kindness and warmth my family show me. But overall, it’s just something I’m super proud of and always has the ability to make me smile when I think of the achievement.
What do you enjoy most about school?
Without a doubt, the people at school. I’m a social person, I love talking, listening and being surrounded by people, it brings me comfort and makes me look forward to going to school every day. The people at Guildford Grammar are what keeps me motivated to be the best version of myself, and they also keep me engaged and excited about attending school.
What are your goals for the role? What do you hope to have achieved by the end of the year?
A huge quote I live by that my dad once told me, someone most likely came up with it originally but it is, “People over the years will forget the details of what you said, they might forget some of the things you did, but what people won’t forget is the way you made them feel and how you made them feel.” So, I think something I personally want to achieve by the end of the year is knowing that I made a positive impact on at least a few peoples lives at school. Weather that’s smiling and starting a conversation with a little Year 7 or making my friends laugh at recess and lunch, or genuinely asking about Teacher’s Day and knowing that after a small interaction it made them smile or feel a little happier. For me, that’s what my role as a leader is; to make everyone feel more comfortable at school and happy to be there.
What are your aspirations beyond school?
I have a few ideas that are playing around in my mind, one of them includes going over east to study either at Australian National University or Melbourne University. If not, I’d love to work and save up to go travelling around Australia and then hopefully find opportunities to travel internationally.
How has Guildford Grammar School supported you on your school journey?
A lot of it comes down to the type of people that are at the School. Almost everyone is willing to give a helping hand and support you. The School offers so many opportunities that allow you to be successful but also opportunities that can help you find success. The teachers are really important in this, I’ve been very fortunate to have great mentor teachers and built strong relations with a lot of teachers over the years I’ve been at school, so I always feel secure in knowing its safe to fail and make mistakes.
What advice would you give to new students?
My advice would be to take advantage of every opportunity you are given, but also to find your own opportunities, as the school is always willing to support you on your endeavours. I wouldn’t get too caught up on all the small things, but I’d try to optimise your time; experiment in different facets of the school, explore different activities, classes and sports.
Remind yourself that it’s ok to not know what you want to do, but you can definitely get a sense of what kind of person you want to be. Don’t sell yourself short by trying to fit in with everyone else and, be your true self, and the ones that matter will stick around. School is not for everyone, but I think it really builds character so make sure you give yourself the best chance at being proud of yourself and everything, you can, and will achieve.