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Wenona’s Cadets ranked highly in a Junior Promotions Course held in April, with five among its top 10 just six weeks after the school introduced the co-curricular activity.
The School introduced Cadets in March when girls in Years 9 and 10 formed the Wenona Platoon and joined the Shore Cadet Unit. Platoon members meet every Monday at Shore School to train for outdoor experiences and ceremonial activities, learning the intricacies of rank and drills as they develop leadership skills and confidence.
All Wenona students who participated in the Junior Promotions Course were ranked among the top 20 of 70 cadets, with Sargent Richardson of Year 10 first in course. Five of the top 10 positions were held by Wenona student by the end of the course which included time in barracks at Shore School and three days of field exercises held in Singleton.
The students were also a part of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service held at Martin Place on April 25 and the School’s ANZAC commemorations on April 27, laying a wreath at North Sydney War Memorial in St Leonards Park.
Year 10 students were among the students promoted on course with Sargent Richardson, 15, and Corporal Collier, 16, among the cadets who received the highest level of promotion during the course. Both put their newfound skills to use while taking part in the ANZAC Day dawn service and marches at Sydney’s Martin Place.
Sargent Richardson’s grandfather served in the Second World War, while Corporal Collier’s great-grandfather Thomas Farr, was a captain of engineers at Gallipoli and served on the Western Front. Both believe that their short time with Cadets has been defined by respect, deeper friendships and developing leadership abilities.
“I decided to join Cadets because it sounded like a lot of fun and with good leadership opportunities,” Sargent Richardson said.
“Cadets is very structured and there is a chain of command. Every person is leading a bigger group of people and has to organise all of the admin.
"Part of the essence of cadets is that it is student-led. There’s a knowledge that when you wear your rank people will respect you because you have worked hard for it.”
Drill and theory lesson assessments were part of the course. On the field, 5am starts and trekking through difficult terrain while being tested by others adopting different personalities or problems to assess conflict resolution skills were the norm. “A lot of it was about taking initiative,' Sargent Richardson said. "You’re also judged on things while in barracks, like how well you teach a lesson. In the field it was more about navigation, leadership and looking after your group.”
Corporal Collier said she chose to join Cadets because it was new to Wenona and offered a path for skills development.
“With Cadets comes greater leadership opportunities," she said. “You don’t just get given a rank. You have to go on a week-long promotions course, you have to demonstrate leadership qualities – that you can show initiative, work under stress and that you are a committed person.”