Captain’s Call | Helena Wong Hansen

Captain's Call | Helena Wong Hansen

As part of the very first cohort at Melbourne Girls Grammar to complete our innovative Senior Years Program, Helena had all the skills she needed to finish strong in a challenging year. While the period of isolation had her thinking about how she could help her community from afar, it also gave time for Helena to reflect on how she had to lead a student cohort like no one ever had before.  

At the start of 2020, Helena was looking forward to leading the student cohort, participating in events and working collaboratively with staff. All of that moved into the digital world as a result of COVID-19, and Helena had to reconsider her style of leadership and adapt to new circumstances. 

“I worked really hard with the Student Executive Council to ensure we had touchpoints all over the School, and not just within year groups, to bring the entire student body together,” said Helena. We planned ‘Weekly Blast’ emails including recipes, stories, song and movie recommendations and ways to stay busy during isolation. Beyond that, we just wanted to make sure that everyone knew there was someone to reach out to. We worked hard to find ways to keep the conversations going.” 

2020 School Captain Helena and her family at the SEC Inauguration in late 2019.

Helena’s connections with the School started long before her first day; her mother is an Old Grammarian and her older sister was already attending Melbourne Girls Grammar. Helena was excited to begin her own journey with the School when she joined the community in Year 7.  

I really loved the atmosphere at MGGS where I felt that I could do anything,” said Helena. “I really feel empowered by the people around me, especially my teachers who continue to challenge my thinking and skills, and care so deeply for us. They truly want us to be the best we can be, and you can see that through all their dedication and hard work they do with and for us. 

I really loved the atmosphere at MGGS where I felt that I could do anything.”

Helena has always valued the connections she’s made, and not just those with peers or within her year level. In a challenging year, Helena has seen the entire student cohort be bold and passionate and truly demonstrate the School value of self-discipline.  

In terms of learning, personally I didn’t find it too difficult to adjust to remote learning. Since Year 9, we’ve been taught exactly how to learn online and how to deal with these things. Using that value of self-discipline, we learnt to manage our time and I know I’m already equipped with the tools I need to be effective wherever I am,” said Helena.  

As the school year ends, Helena prepares to hand the reigns over to our 2021 School Captain, Lilli.  

There’s a lot of advice to give,” said Helena. “I would probably say don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s really tempting to just continue the same events and traditions from previous years, yet a positive from this year has been that we’ve been forced to think unconventionally and outside the box to think of ways to keep the wider community connected. Of course, there are parts which you have to navigate and figure for yourself, but that’s all part of the fun of it! 

Looking forward to her future plans, Helena has been accepted for early admission at ANU studying a double degree of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) and International Relations. “I believe that studying the amalgamation of these disciplines will help me cultivate a unique perspective to help tackle the ethical, economic and political decisions in our society. 

Helena and her classmates have been through a lot this year and proven their ability to thrive no matter what life throws at them. What a year to be a School Captain, and yet throughout 2020 Helena has led the community with strength and confidence and has been an incredible role model for all Grammarians.