School Captain 2023, Layla O’Callaghan

Throughout her time at Goulburn Valley Grammar School, Layla O’Callaghan always valued the kindness and guidance offered by past Prefects and School Captains’. 

It was this sense of belonging which encouraged her to apply for a Prefect position when entering Year 12. “I applied to be a Prefect because I wished to have the same kind of impact that past Prefects and School Captains’ had on me,” she said. “They would often smile and wave or take the time for a chat, which made me feel important and like my ideas mattered.” 

Layla had always hoped to be given the opportunity to be School Captain and fortunately for her she was offered the position of 2023 School Captain alongside Xavier Schmedje. 

The talented netballer and long-time ballet dancer has taken the opportunity in her stride, aiming to make the most out of every opportunity the role presents. “My goal is just to try my best every day, with whatever capacity I have at the time, to help people feel like they belong,” Layla said. “I hope to be able to help each person feel as though school is a place where they can feel safe, where they are valued and where they feel heard.” 

Currently studying Literature, English, Mathematical Methods, Psychology, Legal studies and fast-tracking Indonesian as a second language last year, Layla said the school community is what makes GVGS so great.  

She acknowledged how lucky each current and past student was to attend a school which provided such a positive environment to learn. “Our teachers are so dedicated to continually improving their skills and expanding their knowledge and it allows us as students to know that we are being given the best opportunity to succeed,” Layla said. 

“Everyone has the same value for education and learning.” This value for education has inspired Layla to head to university in Melbourne next year, where she hopes to study Arts and explore her love for creative writing.  

Before this can happen, Layla is looking forward to seeing out the rest of Year 12 and leaving behind a school legacy which she can be proud of. She hopes to be a mentor for upcoming Year 12’s, while teaching younger students how best to prepare for the highs and lows that come with the senior years of high school.  

“It is important to prepare yourself well for each day and when it all gets too much, it is okay to leave your work and responsibilities and spend some time doing something that makes you feel good,” Layla said. “Year 12 often gets likened to a marathon, but I think that it is a lot like a rollercoaster too. Motivation is definitely not linear and neither are emotions or energy.”