Discovering Marley Melbourne’s Personal Ethos for Success
Marley Melbourne has wanted to be School Captain her entire school career. When she reached that goal in Grade 12, she was reminded of her own ambition by both friends and teachers. “A lot of my Junior School teachers sent me emails saying they knew when I was in JK that I wanted to be School Captain,” she says with a laugh. “This is definitely a lifelong dream.”
Marley’s ascent even had a family precedent: her aunt Dr. Gina Ogilvie (Class of 1985) was Head Girl (now referred to as “School Captain”) in her time. The family connections continue with her mother Laurie Melbourne (Class of 1990) and her other aunt, Lana Ogilvie (Class of 1986), who were also Prefects while attending Havergal, and Marley’s younger sister, Kaya, who is in Grade 9 at the school. Now that she’s in her final year of secondary school, Marley has even earned the title of “Marguerite,” which is Havergal’s nickname for students who have attended since Junior Kindergarten. It’s a moniker she’s proud to claim. “There’s something really special about going to a school for this long. Students build invaluable support systems that empower us to explore all that Havergal has to offer.”
Yet from the thoughtful way she articulates her own “personal ethos,” it’s clear that Marley also had a vision to make the role of School Captain all her own. First, she has a strong belief in the power of education, which “unifies our community with a mutual sense of curiosity and courage to discover what we’re interested in.” She’s also driven by the school motto and its focus on leaving the school better for those who come after (she thinks specifically of her sister on that count).
Lastly, Marley places a strong value on diversity, equity and inclusion, especially since she was the only Black student in her grade until she got to high school. “Diversity was an unavoidable conversation for me and something I valued long before it became a hot topic. With what’s been happening for the past couple of years, I think that my job as School Captain is to focus on momentum.”
In her 14 years at Havergal, Marley tried many co-curriculars and positions, from joining the Track & Field Team in Grade 4 to playing sports such as basketball, volleyball, cross-country running and soccer, and participating in musical experiences in choir and orchestra. By Middle School, she had turned her attention to finding leadership opportunities, participating in various student councils. Last year, she was Co-president of both the Black Student Alliance and DECA.
Academically, Marley has always been interested in business, inspired in part by her father. Not only did she seek out courses in accounting and entrepreneurship, but she’s also started her own side businesses, from selling ice cream and lemonade, to a handmade jewelry business she set up in Grade 8 by her locker. Her most recent creation is her online magazine “CASUAL” zine, where she leads a team of 25 volunteers in promoting the artistic work of young people.
As School Captain, Marley says the role involves a lot of public speaking at assemblies, organizing the team of 20 Prefects and representing the interests of the student body. She’s also been working to move ahead with her diversity, equity and inclusion goals, ensuring that she and other student leaders are always at the forefront of those conversations. With the endurance of the pandemic, Marley has also been dedicated to engaging the community through various communications channels, especially the Instagram account @gator_buzz, which she runs with the Prefect team.
While Marley is also excited about graduating and moving on to university (she plans to study finance or economics as she continues to explore entrepreneurship), the prospect makes her reflect on her time at Havergal. Besides all of the opportunities the school has provided, Marley says she’ll probably appreciate the sense of connection the most, not only with her family’s legacy, but also through the friends she’s made. “What makes Havergal so great is that we have this really steadfast commitment to fostering community and connection. Nobody has to go through this journey alone,” says Marley. “We’re able to feel supported in everything we do by teachers and friends.”
Published April 2022