It's not every day an 11-year-old gets to rule her school, but that's exactly what happened to Leura's Amelia Galbraith last Wednesday when she became principal for a day.
The Year 6 Leura Public School student was lauded on the large school noticeboard that fronts the Great Western Highway and the reins of the school were handed over by the real principal Deborah Getley.
Apart from leaving her uniform in the cupboard at home, Amelia ran an all-school evacuation drill, met with the P & C to discuss a healthy canteen, visited numerous classrooms, mulled over the latest plans for a school sculpture with a parent-artist and ensured many students sat inside for lunch on tables and chairs, instead of outside juggling lunch on their laps.
For Amelia the most challenging tasks included a meeting to discuss the school's finances, thinking on her feet at a school assembly and computer dramas in the principal's office.
The best part was "visiting the Kindi and Year 1 classes", reaffirming a career plan to become a teacher herself.
Mrs Getley said it was the first year the school had participated in the Principals Australia Institute program after a pilot project ran nationwide last year.
More than 200 students took on the role from 150 schools around Australia, but Leura was the only Mountains school to participate.
"It's a great opportunity for leadership," Mrs Getley said. "Year 6 had to apply and they were chosen on how they promoted our school values of respect, responsibility and resilience.
"Next year I'm hoping other local schools can get involved so the students chosen can meet."
The event is run to raise awareness of the important role principals play in our community and give students a practical lesson in leadership.
"Quality school leadership doesn't happen by chance," said Jim Davies, CEO of Principals Australia Institute, a national body supporting primary and secondary school principals.
"Principals play a critical role in ensuring that students succeed academically and flourish as individuals. What better way to learn about leadership than to sit at the principal's desk and experience what it feels like to be a leader in action."
Amelia said her principal had a tough but fun job and at day's end admitted she wasn't looking forward to returning to normal school life.
"I'll miss being the principal, it's more fun than school and I've been so busy".