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Meet our student leaders 1


In this series of articles we find out about our student leaders, their background, roles and ambitions. Today we feature our deputy head prefects in charge of school community, David Patlong and Kelly Mascarenhas.

While many people know him as the creator of both the chess club and anime club, David Patlong is also one of our 2019 deputy head prefects in charge of school community.

Passionate about “building a friendly and respectful environment”, David is very dedicated to creating opportunities for all year levels to connect and share their passions. “I’ve been

leading anime club for a while, and I created chess club last year, because I see a bit of a divide between different year groups. These are ways to build a bridge between students and help the

community to grow and be more friendly.”

David has big plans for the chess club this year. While last year it was just about playing chess in a social setting, this year David has “more of a vision in mind – to get an established chess club into the school and for it to continue throughout the years. My vision is a legacy.”

David wants to see his creation flourish and be passed on for future students to benefit. On top of anime club and chess club, David is a long-standing member of our school concert band and jazz band, where he says he is “continually improving.”

However, David is truly passionate about swimming. “I see swimming as an all-round sport because it calms and relaxes the mind. You can forget the problems of the world and focus on yourself. While some people prefer running to relax, I see swimming as a chance to check yourself – where you’re at and what you still need to do.”

The biggest commitment of David’s year, of course, is his role as deputy head prefect. David sees this as a responsibility to build the school community and encourage everyone to come together. David’s main priority is showing all students that “we can each help to grow communities. I wasn’t in a leadership position when I started chess club but I was still able to succeed. I was inspired by my homeroom teacher, Mrs.Stevens, who taught me: ‘If you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.’”

Along with Kelly Mascarenhas, David is in the process of developing plans for future projects. “I’m excited to make an impact and create a legacy.” One such project is the Caritas Challenge, which aims to raise awareness of those suffering in other countries. Last year a focus was placed on Timor-Leste, but this year’s project is focusing on South Sudan. David is also excited to be involved in the cultural festival and talent quest this year.

In the further future, David has decided to study civil engineering at the University of Auckland. He is also looking forward to the possibility of overseas travel. “I want to travel to Japan after my first year at uni. I’m definitely going to make it happen.”

Proud to be part of the 2019 prefect team this year is Kelly Mascarenhas. While being chosen as a deputy head prefect in charge of school community is a very notable commitment, Kelly’s involvement in her community does not end here.

Kelly is a leader of the Our Lady Star of the Sea parish’s Catholic youth group. Within this role, she works to “bring the community together and unite them in their faith” by organising events and entertainment centred around Christ.

Kelly’s impressive list of both past and current commitments also includes the 40-hour famine committee, eucharistic ministry, leading debating for the Year 7s and 8s, being a peer support leader, tutoring, and representing students on the Board of Trustees. Yet the activity that Kelly says has been most responsible for enriching her has been debating. “I am passionate about it, and this opportunity has allowed me to develop the skill of public speaking. Making others aware of my perspective is such a crucial skill.” And Kelly sees being able to share her perspective as a privilege.

On the topic of her new deputy head prefect role, Kelly says her focus is on leaving a legacy. “I don’t just want the role. It is my aim to make the school community closer in our faith.” Kelly has identified building unity in our school community as a major aim. “I want to build a more close-knit community, that is not separated by gender, year levels, or age. When we leave Sancta Maria College, no matter the city [we are in] or our age [in the future], we were all once members of this community. I want to show others the importance of being part of Sancta Maria College.”

This vision is something Kelly plans to take decisive steps towards achieving. Along with David Patlong, Kelly is trying to initiate new projects in the school, rather than simply reinforcing existing ones. She wants to ensure the entire spectrum of students, from Year 7 to Year 13, is involved. “We’re so used to splitting up, so we want a project that promotes unity.”

Kelly is also looking ahead to her life after school. She is planning to study law, specialising in either criminal law or human rights’ law, and is also very interested in studying theology. In her final year of university, Kelly is hoping to take part in an exchange to the United Kingdom, after which she may return to New Zealand to start working.

Danica Loulie-Wijtenburg