Our ‘Values in Action’ series shines a light on how our Caulfield Grammar School employees live our School values.
Petros Monastiriotis, Youth Engagement Coordinator at Caulfield Campus, shares how Pursuing Excellence is so integral to his role in working with young people.
As a Youth Engagement Coordinator, I work with students from Years 7–12 to support them as they navigate their emotions through difficult situations. This can range from school stresses to home or friendship groups.
I provide a safe space for students to vent, to let their hair down, and to feel that they can have open and honest conversations with no judgement or agenda. I draw on my own life experience and share insights with them to support them through this vulnerable time in their lives.
My interest in working with young people in an educational environment was actually inspired by a teacher. My parents separated when I was young, and it led me down a difficult path. I attended six different schools, much of my behaviour fuelled by anger and not understanding the situation. Things really shifted when I spoke to a teacher at my school. I still vividly remember just opening up and crying. At the root of it all, I was just really sad. That teacher said things to me that really resonated, and to this day those words have inspired me to support and understand young people in similar situations.
When I have a conversation with a student, I feel like I can be on their level because I understand that a problem is a problem, regardless of how big or small. I have found that when you take the time to really listen and hear what they have to say, a young person will often come to their own solution. And that is more powerful than any advice I can give.
Pursuing Excellence is one of our School Values that resonates for me. To pursue excellence is to be the best that you can be. To do this, students need to know that it’s okay when things don’t go their way. I am very self-aware and in touch with my emotions. I ask for help when I need it because I don’t find shame in it. If you don’t ask, then you don’t get that knowledge and understanding you need to grow and learn.
My role as a student advocate is ever-changing. Each young person’s set of challenges is different, and my role is to encourage them to voice how they feel and, if needed, guide them in seeking further support.
Caufield Grammar School is a values-led school. Our five School Values guide the way we work together and behave. Active interaction with these values supports our students and staff in having clarity and ownership about what it means to be a member of the Caulfield Grammar School community – how we treat each other, and what we expect from each other.