Introducing Erin Costello
Amid lessons, exam preparation, coursework submission and revision, the pace with which Summer Term begins leaves little time for merriment. However, an air of excitement has filled the halls this week since the announcement of students newly elected to the Sixth Form Leadership Team. Head Girl Elect, Erin Costello, certainly shares this cause for celebration. What greeted the communications office when Erin arrived for an interview for Priory Post was not a giddy school girl overwhelmed by responsibility but a composed, articulate young woman, who exudes a quiet confidence.
And thus the conversation began…
By way of brief introduction, what motivates Erin Costello? What provides you with your energy for the day (other than a big bowl of Weetabix)?
Erin: “Other people. My peers at St Augustine’s Priory are friendly, supportive and lots of fun; we make the most of opportunities to bounce off each other’s enthusiasm and I find the positive mood of my peers very motivating.”
What most appealed to you about the role of Head Girl?
Erin: “The role is one to which I have aspired since joining St Augustine’s in the Juniors. It is so important for young women to have good role models and for those role models to represent something obtainable. My involvement in ‘wider school life’ has demonstrated a natural progression through manageable steps, for example, from Student Council to Sixth Form Leadership Team. My hope is that in this very visible role, younger girls will look at me and believe “If I invest the time and energy I CAN achieve that position. I CAN make a difference.”
What does the term ‘leadership’ mean to you?
Erin: “It means bringing people with you. It is one thing to set clear direction but quite another to inspire a group of people to go in that direction. I understand that leadership is not about the individual but the collective one represents and the progress that collective makes during that leader’s term.”
What are the key strengths of St Augustine’s Priory that you would like to promote?
Erin: “One of the things I love most about this school is that we cater for the individual. There is something here for everyone no matter your interest or ambition. We empower girls to grow into independent women. This is an aspect of life here I’m keen to promote.”
What as a younger pupil did you want to be done differently by the student leadership team? Will you address these issues in your new role?
Erin: “There is much more variety here now than when I joined in 2007. Girls enjoy the wide range of academic and extra-curricular activities and I hope to contribute to their continuation.”
How do you intend to work with your Deputies and the wider student leadership team?
Erin: “One of the benefits of an all-through school is having the time to truly get to know your peers. I have an excellent relationship with the rest of the team which will allow me to recognise and draw on individuals’ strengths. The more I know about the people on my team, the more effective we will be.”
What key challenges do you expect to face during your term and do you think any of them are unique to St Augustine’s Priory?
Erin: “As one of very few all-through schools we face the natural challenge of providing for girls across a wide age range. Building and maintaining lasting relationships between girls in the Junior School and Senior School is a challenge I look forward to tackling head-on.”
You’ve highlighted the challenge of engaging broad demographics, how will you ensure you communicate effectively with the many students you represent?
Erin: “By ensuring girls have an individual whom they can go to and feel represented by: the reason we have a team is so that there is someone responsible for giving each pupil a voice. We will never be too busy for the individual.”
What skills would you personally like to develop in your capacity as Head Girl?
Erin: “I have invested in developing my communication skills in a structured way, through formal qualification. I consider this essential to everything I will go on to do and so hope that this role will further refine those skills. Additionally, practising a degree of flexibility in the way I work and the opportunity to learn more about people are two aspects of the role that really excite me.”
In a sentence, can you summarise your ambitions for the forthcoming year?
Erin: “To ensure our girls feel empowered; to have confidence in their leaders and their own ability to make their voices heard.”
Is there anything else you wish to say?
Erin: “Yes. Thank you to everyone who voted for me.”
As the conversation came to a close, Miss Costello returned to her studies.
This young woman exemplifies the balanced, holistic approach to her education to which we should all aspire. Watch this space…