By Lee Yun Ning (17A01E), Photographs by Raffles Photographic Society
The recently held Promethean Ceremony, as with tradition, marked the transfer of leadership from the outgoing Year 6 CCA Leaders to their newly elected successors.
I personally didn’t expect much. It was just like any typical award ceremony: names were called out, tokens were presented, and the new CCA leaders replaced the seats of their former leaders on stage as a symbolic representation of this transfer of responsibility. Apart from the occasional cheering, the energy levels were low, and the monotonous process of having each CCAL go on stage seemed to make the ceremony drag on.
Despite this, in the midst of all the thoughtless clapping, you could feel the pride radiating from the seniors and the honour felt amongst the CCALs. Giving each individual their own time to be acknowledged on stage allowed for the genuine appreciation of the efforts of the Year Sixes, and cheers from their CCA mates served as an affirmation for the CCALs – that many others had faith in them to bring their CCAs to greater heights.
CCA is, arguably, a large part of our school lives. It is a community we belong to, something we identify ourselves with, where the memories and friendships made are rooted within us. Through running the CCA, our CCALs play a huge role in shaping the culture of our CCAs and our overall CCA experience, giving it their all to make it meaningful to us. Their efforts surely deserve the level of recognition and thanks the Promethean Ceremony would grant them.
However, the formality of the ceremony might have made it alienating to most. In a conversation with a friend, the team captain of her CCA, she mentioned that she had planned to “dab” onstage along with the team captain for the boys’ team, but then decided against it as they felt it would have been inappropriate for such a formal occasion. Such an action would have made the event more amusing, yet it’s understandable why a certain level of respect has to be held for the ceremony.
Often, CCALs are valued as leaders only in their CCAs and hardly in at the school level – from that perspective, they are only one in the sea of many leaders. Thus, the formality of this ceremony could stem from it being the only event that recognizes the CCALs as leaders in the school-wide context, and the only opportunity to give them the full amount of respect they deserve from the school.
Given that we hardly view CCA in the context of our school, and more in terms of what it means to us, is this formality really necessary? Perhaps something more lighthearted would have allowed the ceremony to be more inspirational for the CCALs, and more engaging for those watching. As long as the appreciation for the outgoing CCALs is conveyed, the ceremony would have served its purpose, and there are certainly less rigid ways to go about delivering this appreciation.
In addition, each Year 6 had to pass on a symbol of their CCA to their CCAL. Although interesting, the purpose of this could be questioned: Was this for show in order to make the ceremony more visually engaging, or for the outgoing Year Sixes to show belief and support for their successors? If it’s the former, it certainly worked.
If it’s the latter, it could be argued that this action does not fulfil its purpose – I noted that some Year Sixes had passed letters and notes to their CCALs, probably with advice and encouragement written inside, the mere handing over of an object representative of their CCA unable to achieve the same effect.
To complete their investiture, the CCALs recited an oath in unison, marking their promise to their CCA. Phrased vaguely, this oath shows how leadership is subjective to each individual, and while it may encapsulate how one should act in the capacity of a leader, it does not immediately limit the definition of being a leader within these few lines. Each CCA leader’s development will be shaped by the different systems and culture of their CCAs, along with their own personal experiences, thus each CCAL’s personal growth as a leader will be different from their counterparts. While the oath serves as a standard for the CCALs, it would be hard to come up with a universal, set meaning of leadership for them. It’s up to them to decide what leadership means to themselves.
Expressing appreciation for our CCA leaders does not have to come in the form of a large scale ceremony – we can do so through simple everyday actions, such as thanking them for any seemingly insignificant thing they do for us or showing understanding for any mistakes they might make. This occasion celebrates their service to the school, but these leaders definitely impact those under their leadership at a more intimate level, and this impact would be equally, if not more than, important as the efforts they’ve put in as a leader. We shouldn’t quantify their leadership solely based on their contributions to the school, but also keep in mind the small marks they’ve made on the people around them.
Being a leader isn’t an easy task. This ceremony gave the outgoing Year Sixes the admiration and respect they truly deserve as they step down, and spurred the current CCALs on in their pursuit of being good leaders. All the best to the newly elected CCALs in their journey, and a very big thank you to all the effort and contributions of the outgoing Year Sixes.