Year 12 student, Grace Fitch is serving her peers as Chapel Prefect in 2017.

At TIGS, all students have the opportunity to gain real life leadership experience. This practice challenges a student to adapt to situations, develop confidence and gain important skills that they will use in their careers and life. Students can serve their fellow classmates in positions such as Junior and Senior School Captains, Vice Captains, House Captains and Prefects. The role of Chapel Prefect nurtures a student’s spiritual Christian growth as well as their leadership development. We sat down with Grace to find out more about her role as Chapel Prefect.

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What does the role Chapel Prefect involve?
There is the upfront side of Chapel, where the four Chapel Prefects rotate in leading the Chapel and MC our services. We also have our own little things that we do, for me, on a Wednesday morning I run a Year 12 Christian discipleship group and on a Wednesday lunchtime I run the Junior FISH program that stands for “Fellowship in School Hours”. So that’s for Year 7 to 10 students. It’s an opportunity to ask questions and I have seen a lot of growth this term which has been cool.

What have been some leadership challenges for the position of Chapel Prefect?
Coming into the leadership position I knew we did a lot, seeing Chapel Prefects up at Chapel, so I knew that hosting Chapel was involved. It was something I was very nervous about, something I wasn’t very excited to do.
I love the discipleship, group running and the behind the scenes work I’ve done.
It has shown me how important that side of things is, to lead in the upfront position but then to chat to students, in a more personal context.
It gives us the opportunity to be the face of the Chapel but what I’ve found is discipleship is more important.

What have been the key moments in your Christian life?
There has never been a lightning moment but there have been plenty of points where I have grown and made the faith my own. Many of them have been school related.
The Hong Kong trip was a big part of that. I’ve always known how blessed we are but actually going over and witnessing what people experience in other countries in person and being in simulations has been like man… our God is very powerful. Realising how lucky we are and how blessed. We should be using our gifts wherever we are.

What’s it like being a Christian at TIGS?
It was very different to what I was expecting coming from a public school.
I expected TIGS to be a school completely full of Christians.
Not all of my peers are Christian so that comes with its own challenges in terms of conversations and people challenge you with “What about this? Why did this happen?” and having the courage to respond in a loving way and praying for wisdom has been a big development.

Do you feel that these challenges have helped you grow?
Definitely, especially in my confidence. I guessed you could say when I first started at TIGS I had church and school very separate.
People in my school knew I was Christian but I wasn’t really out there.
I did start to mix them both and chat to people, but didn’t necessarily bring it up in conversations but when conversations were happening I would pipe up and defend what I believe.
So that’s definitely given me lots of confidence!
Confidence in running Bible study and when people ask questions, having the confidence to answer them. Knowing that it’s planting seeds but God speaks through you and telling them “I don’t know that one but getting back to them”.
Confidence in Chapel, speaking in public. I have definitely grown in that too because I’m surprised how far I have come and I don’t freak out when I do Chapel now. It’s great, it’s a great life skill to be able to stand in front of a crowd and not freak out.

Has TIGS prepared you for future Christian ministry?
The skills that I have learnt in the discipleship groups have helped me run it for a youth audience. Even writing my testimony, I had never sat down to write it before. It has given me the confidence to do that sort of thing in my church life.
The students have enjoyed having teachers run Chapel but when a student runs it they are more likely to ask questions that they might not want to ask a teacher.
Ever since I became Chapel Prefect, I still meet with students and mentor them but it is a surprise to have other students open up.

“It has been very special and interesting to see how God works to stirs people and purposefully puts people places”

What do you think is one of TIGS greatest strengths as a school?
TIGS has lots of strengths, but I think one that I particularly experience is our co-curricular activities, giving students the ability to shine in their areas of interest. If they are musical, the Arts department or if they like outdoor education, or sport.
In particular the Year 12 leadership programme is a great opportunity. I’ve felt that giving back to that area that you feel so passionate about, and one that has helped you grow, is very rewarding.
We have so many leadership opportunities, Photography Prefects can give back to Photography, House Prefects can passionately serve their House and give back to their peers.

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The Chapel Prefects are just one of the many leadership opportunities at TIGS that prepare students for life after school. Leadership can be a daunting and nerve-racking task for people with no prior experience. Leading your peers at such a young age can also be intimidating but gaining that experience before you leave school will reap untold benefits for your future.