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Passionate Progress

Sustainability Prefect, Eleanor, is learning to moderate her passion for environmental causes to effectively inspire others.

Each week, our student leaders share their insights with their peers in Assembly.

This week, our very passionate Sustainability Prefect, Eleanor, shared the lessons she has learned through her efforts to inspire others to embrace a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.


Long known for her unwavering dedication to sustainability, Eleanor revealed that there is more to her than meets the eye. "Some of you may be surprised to learn that my personality doesn't revolve entirely around 'sticking it to the man' and encouraging people to go frolic in the wilderness," she began. "Those tendencies are just the tip of my iceberg."

She went on to explain that beneath her passionate exterior, she is an anxious perfectionist and a ruthless self-critic. “Metaphorically, these traits are the fossil fuels, ocean pollution, and deforestation that threaten the structure of my ‘iceberg’. They create an emotional burden that affects various aspects of my life from running a club to making dietary choices, hosting guests, and meeting deadlines like my HSC major works. Regarding the state of the planet, which is obviously far from ideal, can put me in overdrive,” she said.

However, rather than letting these traits consume her, Eleanor has found a way to channel them into positive action. "Somehow, they fuel the passion, determination, and ambition that drive me to achieve my environmental wins (and could probably generate enough energy to power Wenona's carbon-overshoot of a swimming pool for a whole year)," she said.

But, as she explained, it has not always been easy. "... It has taken years to turn perfectionism into progress and criticism into compassion … I have had to transform my anxiety into a renewable energy, so to speak. Rather than burning out to make everything perfect, I now prioritise steady habitual transitions to achieve enduring results.”

"I now understand that the hard truth is important, and realism is necessary, but there is a fine line between motivation and outweighing the notion of hope. We are all most frightened by the things we cannot control.

This has also made me realise that not only good habits, but my degree of optimism will rub off on those around me. Optimism in the face of adversity is fundamental to good leadership.”

Eleanor’s speech resonated with students and teachers alike, inspiring us with her honesty and her ability to harness her anxiety and perfectionism for the greater good.

As she continues to be a leader in the charge towards a more sustainable Wenona, she serves as a reminder that personal growth is always beneficial, especially when it is channelled towards causes like environmental change.