'You are the best students for the Job'.
"That is what we were told when we were chosen," a smiling Pimnara (Fin) Boondoungprasert says, as she recalls the moment Principal Chris Seal informed her and fellow Year 13 student Wasinee (Dow) Siriboonlamom that they would represent the student body as Heads of School for the current academic year.
It had never crossed either of the girls' minds that they would both be selected. Still, given their involvement in Shrewsbury over their school careers it made complete sense to the senior leadership group that selected them, especially Mr Seal, who is effusive in his praise for both students.
"I am delighted that we have appointed Dow and Fin as our Heads of School. They are the first all-female team at Shrewsbury, but to paraphrase Canadian premier Justin Trudeau; this should not be something that creates a reaction. It is simply an expression of the strength of the applications we received from both Dow and Fin. They epitomise what it means to be a role model and a leader, and we are very excited by what they are already achieving and the legacy they will leave Shrewsbury."
Fin and Dow have shaken off the initial surprise to get on with the business of leading the student body. They are very interested in making prefects more visible to all students and not just for special occasions or assemblies. Getting involved in more across all year groups is something Fin says needs to happen so that all students feel as if they have someone who can advocate for them.
"Perhaps in the past, being in a student leadership position has been seen as a mythical position, therefore making certain individuals somewhat unapproachable. I am sure this isn't intended, but we want students of all age groups to be able to come and see us, air any concerns or just have an informal chat," Fin insists.
Meanwhile, Dow has a goal to celebrate the teachers that have made a difference in students' lives. Speaking from personal experience, Fin says the teachers at Shrewsbury are integral to the learning process and do so much more than teach the syllabus and ensure students' grades are satisfactory.
"My peers and I often discuss the teachers that can engage and enthral us. Many have a profound effect on our futures and go above and beyond when it comes to pastoral care. We see our teachers as mentors and want to celebrate their efforts in some way, so we are looking at a formal way to do that," she asserts.
The duo are keen to have Sixth Form students involved in conversations about subject choices for students at GCSE or A level as they have first-hand experiences on the challenges and processes of each subject.
"The Sixth Form Executive and prefects think our voices can be useful when discussing what subject students might be interested in. We know the teachers, the course material and the load it puts on students' timetables. Our perspective may be useful along with the teachers and Higher Education specialists," Dow proposed.
Both Heads of Shrewsbury have had conversations with their predecessors, Kazuki and Tara who have helped clarify some of the challenges they may face, both in general and if COVID-19 reemerges. Fin, is grateful for all of the sound advice being steered their way.
"Dow and I have great support in the Shrewsbury community, and at home so we feel we are up to the task of dealing with anything that may be thrown our way. We are both gaining in confidence and are focused on representing the school's best interests."