Student leaders: James Ruse Agricultural High School

This week’s student leaders are from James Ruse Agricultural High School, whose motto is: Gesta non Verba (Deeds not Words).

Read their Q&A:

What's unique about your school?

Jumaana Abdu: It's absolutely brimming with academic and humanitarian passion - a few weeks won't go by without some student-run event being held.

Eva Sinha: It's a very dynamic environment - there's never a dull moment, every day is filled with different activities and events. And on top of that it's also a very comfortable and accepting place.

Jeffrey Khoo: Our school thrives on ideas. If you have an idea for an extracurricular club, an idea about the curriculum, an idea to make the school better, an idea for social change, Ruse provides you with the resources, the environment and the passion for you to make your idea thrive.

Justin Wu: Our school environment is unique – we are a very supportive and vibrant community of students and teachers. We have a great school spirit, a multitude of clubs and a lot of enthusiasm, especially for student-organised activities (like SRC Week, school dances, World’s Greatest Shave), food days, and Quadrangle concerts/performances.

Sriganesh Thavalingam: Its all too easy to walk into school and walk out feeling as if you’ve only been within the school gates for 10 minutes but knowing that you’ve just been involved in yet another jam-packed day at Ruse. The school is bursting full of exciting new ideas and events that involves all the students and teachers.

Joel Jenson: Ruse is a buzzing community, filled with students brimming with potential. The school offers so many opportunities for students to showcase their talents and also to nurture and grow as global citizens.

Ria Sinha: Everyone is so supportive of each other, and willing to help whenever you need something. Ruse nurtures individual spirit, it gives you the opportunity to be involved in anything you want and is great to explore all your different interests.

Jin Yoo: What is unique about your school?James Ruse is a close knit, supportive community. Ever since I was in year 7, I felt like there would be no other school which creates a better cohesive and nurturing environment as Ruse and I think that is the reason why we have so many talented students across many fields.

What do you want to do when you leave school?

Jumaana Abdu: When I leave school I want to use the skills I've acquired at James Ruse to help others.

Eva Sinha: I would like a medical career, hopefully as an obstetrician gynecologist. I would like to pursue a profession that directly contributes to society. 

Jeffrey Khoo: I would like to be a parliamentarian some day, because parliamentarians are able to make decisions that will benefit the society we all live in for generations. I'd also love to teach and keep up my passion for learning and education after I leave high school. 

Justin Wu: I hope to study medicine at university; my biggest interests lie in the field of paediatrics. Such a career will be both rewarding and challenging, since it not only allows for my direct service to the community I love, but also a platform for intellectual and professional development.

Sriganesh Thavalingam: I aspire to study medicine at university; a degree I have seen is both greatly rewarding and of great assistance to the community.

Joel Jenson: After I leave school I’d like to make an impact with all the skills I’ve learnt. Whether that be amongst friends and family or the wider community I’d like to be able to say I helped make someone’s day brighter.

Ria Sinha: Honestly I'm really not sure, I've been asked this too many times and I've wanted to do about everything. Medical Examiner, Psychiatry, Physiotherapy and Business/Management all stick out for me but regardless of these, the only thing I know I want to do is write a novel.

Jin Yoo: What do you want to do when you leave school? I want to study Medicine or Dentistry at University, but I also want to pursue my hobbies in art and coffee/food industry. My vision is to have a hospital and an art cafe integrated in one building!!!

Why do you think being a school leader is important?

Jumaana Abdu: These kids are the future - it's no small thing to be able to serve them and help enrich their school experience.

Eva Sinha: I think for any community to be successful, every member has to be ready to contribute what they can to improving and sustaining it. I am incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to do this through student leadership.

Jeffrey Khoo: Student leadership is necessary for us to have a say in the policies and processes that affect us most. In addition to creating and participating in a fantastic community, it's a great way to develop your character as well. 

Justin Wu: Being a school leader allows for liaison between students and the school executive, meaning that our school evolves and adapts to address the needs of our student community both in academic and extra-curricular pursuits. As school leaders we also address the personal needs of students, including overcoming stress and being there simply as emotional supports.

Sriganesh Thavalingam: In truth, anyone can become a leader but by becoming a school leader, it allows me to have a great platform so that I may advocate for changes to be made more easily. This is a position that I am extremely grateful to have knowing it allows for me to address the needs of the student body as a whole.

Joel Jenson: School leaders are necessary to give students direction. Leaders such as Prefects and SRC allow those in younger grades to have a role model within school and also encourage good values in older students who wish to attain a leadership role. Being a school leader allows me to be involved in the decision making process of certain events and ideas, allowing my opinion to be more clearly heard.

Ria Sinha: School leaders represent student needs. It reminds you that change is possible and how you can help and impact others. Whether it's supporting a Year 10 to choose subjects they actually enjoy or introducing a new sport competition for the school . You learn both from other people and about yourself.

Jin Yoo: Why do you think being a school leader is important? I think being a school leader is important for students as it gives them that extra taste of the real, bigger world. We really learn valuable skills which will mature us and prepare us for society. Moreover, we are able to contribute ideas with an honest student- based perspective and suggest improvements for the school which gives so much to us. This mutual relationship really heightens our appreciation of our peers, our teachers and learning which makes every day really enjoyable. I think everyone is a leader in one way or another, and school leaders are essential in acknowledging everyone’s unique leadership and tying it together to create a unified school culture.

If you were the principal what would you introduce?

Jumaana Abdu: As principal, I would introduce a games room. Ruse kids love fun competition and it would be a great way to relax.

 Eva Sinha: If I were principal I would make Drama a compulsory subject for junior grades. Drama is a great outlet for self expression and can provide valuable life skills many Ruse students would benefit from.

Jeffrey Khoo: If I was the principal, I would make creativity a big focus. That means enriching and supporting the arts (particularly my favourite subject Drama!) and working with students to create a positive, supporting learning environment where you can take risks and be yourself.

Justin Wu: If I were the principal I would implement an online system accessible by all staff and students, which tracks all assessment tasks and their due dates, thereby spreading out the overall workload for students and allowing for healthier and more successful study patterns. Also, I would build school interest in the creative arts subjects (Drama, Music, Visual Arts) since James Ruse has many talented musicians, actors and artists with their potentials yet to be realised.

Sriganesh Thavalingam: If I was principal then I would introduce a year-long sporting competition amongst students for each grade where they may compete against each other in a variety of sports (both mainstream and the bizarre) culminating in a great experience for all the students as well as advocating for healthier bodies (an issue that needs to be dealt with amongst school students).

Joel Jenson: If I were the principal I would increase the focus of sports and physical education in school life. I would like to get every student involved in a team sport, allowing them to experience sportsmanship and the feeling of being part of a team with a common goal.

Ria Sinha: I would reshape school life so it is more conducive to holistically healthy students. Physical Health: Healthier canteen/ encouraging morning sport. Social Health: Stronger bonds between students through musicals and productions. Mental Health: Visiting school counsellors, in such a pressurised environment sometimes we don't realise how much our mental health suffers.

Jin Yoo: If you were the principal what would you introduce? Textiles and Food tech!