Execs in focus: Kristen Sellings
VicSRC is run by a group of 15 students from across the state, who make up our Exec team. But who are they? Just like you, they are powerful voices. Meet our Exec and find out what makes them tick in our latest #VicSRCvoices series.
First up: 16 year old Kristen Sellings from Yarram Secondary College.
Kristen Sellings, 16, is a young woman with something to say. Look beneath the Yarram Secondary College student's quiet and unassuming demeanor and you'll find quick wit, bubbling enthusiasm and steely determination. The aspiring author and Dr Who fan has a knack for cutting through the noise to the core of an issue or debate, which is one of the many skills Kristen brings to the VicSRC 2014-2015 Exec team.
"There are two people who have inspired me throughout various stages of my life - they are Roald Dahl and Ted Geisel/Dr. Seuss. The stories that they each wrote broke so many rules of literature for their time, and guess what - they embraced that!
"Because of them both...their zany, creative styles have now influenced my personality and my outlook on life."
Kristen brings this creative approach to everything she does at a community level through her SRC, and at a state level with VicSRC. Her journey with VicSRC started at Congress 2013, when she was first elected to the Exec. But her journey with student voice and representation started long before that.
"Student voice, to me, is a right that all students should be able to have, to express their views, experiences and opinions on issues or projects that involve them," muses Kristen.
"Through my involvement and knowledge of student voice, I also changed," she continued. "I gained a wider sense of motivation, especially when our voice was shut down or kicked off to the side. I started to become more aware of the large obstacles and social stigmas that surround us - the student body - like a minefield, and how hard the journey to widening our impact would be."
The journey, whilst hard, is not without its rewards. Seeing real outcomes emerge from the day-to-day effort and slog is a huge highlight.
"Towards the end of the year, our SRC tends to be very quiet, however this time of the year is usually when we begin to generate ideas for future projects, and also some improvements on how the SRC is run and organised," Kristen tells us.
"One of the projects that we are planning for in 2015 is our ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ week, a positive mental health event generated by our SRC. It is something our SRC and school hasn’t done before, and is an event which is really exciting our group."
Public speaking and confidence haven't always come naturally to Kristen - she's had to earn it, and is still earning it! She wants all students to know that their views are valued and that they can make change happen. But you've got to be willing to work for it.
"For all the students out there: actions speak louder than words. Don’t just complain to people - that will get you nowhere. Put yourself out there and actually do something to improve the issue instead of making it harder and more confusing for others," affirmed Kristen.
"For teachers, don’t be afraid to step outside the box, to go out of the pages and create something that sticks with your instincts. And also, look after yourself more! You tell us to organise ourselves, to not study in the middle of the night, to be aware of our limits and say ‘NO’ occasionally. Practice what you preach more often!
"And for the politians out there: stop turning politics into a circus - it won’t get you any votes. Instead, go into communities, get REAL opinions from REAL people, and get to know the people who you represent. Keep fighting for our voice, and keep it true."
As for what Kristen wants to be when she 'grows up'? The sky is the limit.
"I have no idea what the name of my future career will be, due to my large string of interests, however I would love to do something that inspires people," said Kristen.
"Whether it is as a teacher, actress, activist, chief, designer, writer or politician, you will be sure to see my input into some type of issue somewhere across the globe."
Of that, we have no doubt!
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