Olympic Change-Makers

MSJ is proud to announce that this year’s Olympic Change-Makers are two Year 12 students and great friends, Maddie Rose, 12 Solomon, and Ruby Sommerville, 12 Solomon.

Olympic Change-Makers are students who demonstrate the Olympic Spirit, and have shown great team leadership skills, coached juniors, supported seniors, made a difference at their sports club or in the community, or a national cause or effecting change on the world stage.

Ruby Sommerville

Ruby is a quiet achiever, with a love of sports and outdoor education.

She has enjoyed playing and coaching soccer over the years, believing in being a strong role model to the younger players and helping them develop friendships, confidence and self-belief, whilst always having fun. Ruby has been involved in the Great Victorian Bike Ride on three occasions with her family. A nine day event involving hundreds of kilometres of riding, day in day out and then camping overnight with up to 5000 other competitors! Ruby hopes to one day be involved with taking a group of MSJ students on the Great Victorian Bike Ride adventure.

Ruby has achieved her Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh awards, and is keen to complete her Gold award also in the coming years.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award demands students commit to a set number of hours of Physical Recreation, try a new skill, and become involved in a community service.

It is an award designed to develop the “whole person”, and Ruby has thrived in this environment.

She has been active in the MSJ Outdoor and Environmental Studies (OES) program throughout her years at MSJ, often taking on a leadership role to assist, encourage and guide her peers during the various OES endeavours and journeys.

Ruby is thrilled to be an Olympic Change-Maker and has said of the award:

“Being nominated for the Olympic Change-Maker award is a great honour and I’m so appreciative that my sportsmanship and leadership was recognised by others.

Receiving this award has further boosted my desire to continue playing sports and being active and I’m glad that I have been able to positively impact others through doing this and it has motivated me to do even more in the future. This award has made me reflect back on all the sports and outdoor activities that I’ve participated in over my adolescent years and value the friendships and memories that I’ve created along the way which I am eternally grateful for. I would also like to encourage others, particularly young girls, to get involved or continue to play sport and help inspire others by providing leadership or support and maybe they could possibly be nominated for the next Olympic Change-Maker award."

Maddie Rose

Maddie is a sports “tragic”, and has represented MSJ annually in up to 11 different sports in interschool SCSA competition. Her first love was Basketball, which she played and coached for 10+ years, being selected at Junior representative level. Sport was always about more than just the game for Maddie. For her, it was about always having a go and doing your best, friendships, teamwork, determination, building confidence in others, leadership and team mates. Maddie has shown her ability to step outside her comfort zone and try new things by taking up Lacrosse competitively at club level, not knowing anyone at her new club, but up for a new challenge. She is keen for the new sporting challenge of AFLW, once Covid restrictions are lifted, and is a passionate advocate for inspiring girls to play and have a go at any sport they want.

Maddie, like Ruby, has been active in the MSJ Outdoor and Environmental Studies (OES) program throughout her years at MSJ, often taking on a leadership role to assist, encourage and guide her peers during the various OES endeavours and journeys.

Maddie has also achieved her Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh awards, and is keen to complete her Gold award also in the coming years, no doubt with her friend Ruby by her side.

Maddie was thrilled to be named an Olympic Change-Maker, and has said on receiving the award:

“The Olympic Change-Maker Award means a lot to me as I feel incredibly humbled to receive such a recognised award like this. My time at MSJ has helped me achieve this award by offering SCSA sports where I have built friendships with teammates and have learnt so much about leading and teamwork. I encourage everyone in the near future at MSJ to have a go at any sport inside or outside of school, because the happiness, fun, and friendships that are built from team sports last forever, and I will always cherish those moments for the years to come.”

Sue Sofarnos - Sports Coordinator

Cricket Victoria Leadership Forum

On 27 August, many girls from all over Victoria, and a group of 24 MSJ Year 8 students, attended the Cricket Victoria Girls Online Leadership forum.

The Forum went for 90 minutes, and we were glad to get the experience to learn all about leadership skills, building confidence, mental health and what it is like being a leader.

We started off with some warm-up games such as “guess the sport”, being acted out as a charade by the compere, Bobby Macumber, who was very funny.

The Forum started with Stewart McCully, speaking about finding a Mentor, to help support you with your goals.

Mary Spillane is a Sport Psychologist with the Victorian Cricket Team, and she spoke about mental health and some apps to use to help you, such as an app called “3 Lil' things”, which sounded great, as everyday, at the end of the day, you write 3 things that were good that day in your life.

The Victorian Women’s cricket coach and player, Bhavi Devchand, and their player manager, also spoke about the qualities you need to show as a leader, and what happens when you become a leader. Bhavi also talked about what it is like training with the other girls and how you miss it in lockdown, but that there are always opportunities there for you to focus on to help you to still grow and be a better person.

There was a Panel discussion at the end involving all these interesting people, which left us inspired to become leaders in the future.

Heaven Habib 8G

The leadership program offered us an opportunity to complete modules about leadership as well as being mentored.

The leadership forum began with Bobby Macumber doing warm-ups with us by playing some games as well as talking to us about what the forum is going to be about. After Bobby Macumber spoke to us and had warmed us up she introduced Stewart McCully. Stewart mentors professional athletes and Olympians. Stewart spoke to us about his mentorship and how much he enjoys mentoring people.

Stewart caught my attention when he told us how he doesn’t like to go without contact for more than 4 weeks, even if that is to check in and see how his students are going. After hearing this, Stewart had me intrigued about how much commitment he had and what his expectations of us were, as well as how much time he was willing to commit to us.

Once the forum was over, a few days later we got some more information about Stewart and we were asked if we wanted him to be our mentor. I spent a long time thinking about if I wanted Stewart to be my mentor. After spending a couple of days thinking about it, I reached out to Stewart asking him if he would like to be my mentor. Only a couple of hours later I heard back from Stewart about how brave I was to reach out and that he would be happy to be my mentor.

After hearing that he was happy to be my mentor, I was so excited. The next day Stewart and I had our first meeting, it was all about getting together for him to understand who I am as a person and what is important to me. Once the first meeting was done, I began the leadership modules.

From all of the meetings that I have had with Stewart, he has been able to motivate me because I know that this is going to help develop my personal goals as well as improve my leadership skills. He has directed me in areas I need to improve on, for example, he has helped me by having a more positive attitude and not to doubt myself.

A big thank you to Sue Sofarnos because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity and experience to work with Stewart and improve on my leadership skills.

By Alisha Vella