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We all innately understand that schools are a microcosm of society, but when the ills of our wider society – such as a disrespect for women – appear in our own community, we are shocked out of our complacency.

In his Principal’s Lines in this edition of Lion, Nick Evans delivers an adroit moral statement. Australian society urgently needs leaders to step forward and occupy the moral space vacated by those who are essentially leaders in name only.

Nick is such a person. He has given us, and the Victorian community, a lesson in authentic leadership. We thank Nick for his willingness to openly confront the difficult issues for the betterment of our school, and, as the ripples spread, for the long-term betterment of our wider community.

For all the pain and discomfort the school has experienced in recent days, there is, as always, much we can be proud of, and indeed this edition of Lion celebrates authentic leadership in its many guises. Sheriden Vella writes about what inspires her in her new role as Head of Campus at Glen Waverley. Three very different women – Professor Sharon Lewin, Kate Dempsey (OW2012) and Jessica Macpherson OAM – each share their stories and their thoughts on how we might choose to challenge in our feature on last month’s International Women’s Day breakfasts. Indigenous Wesley alumnus Alena Landers (OW2020) breaks new ground in the art world and at university, showing others what’s possible in their lives.

And we celebrate our rowers, who, with their focus and determination, produced some remarkable wins on the water this season. In doing so, they’ve gifted future generations of Wesley rowers with the belief that anything is possible. How wonderful that the strength of our rowing program could be so viscerally demonstrated this year as we celebrate 150 years of rowing at Wesley.

Anything is possible… It’s a liberating thought. I’ll leave the last word to past Wesley parent Professor Sharon Lewin, who, at St Kilda Rd’s IWD breakfast, left her audience with this message: ‘2021 is a wake-up call for all of us. Every woman on the planet should feel they can shoot for the stars and that they can do anything. We need to be sure that when we see misogyny or casual sexism in our daily lives or our institutions, everyone must call this out and choose to challenge.’

Paul Munn, Lion Editor and features writer

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