A GROUP of Bega High School students recently attended The Australian Newspaper’s ‘step to the future’ youth leadership forum in Canberra.
Each of the presenters had a limited time to speak, followed by an open forum where the 500 students present could ask questions.
Well done Alicia for being so prompt at procuring a microphone to ask two questions of the presenters.
Air Commodore Julie Hammer, Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, spoke about her rise through the ranks including the management of the maintenance of F111s and electronic warfare projects.
Leaders need to set challenging goals, have a vision and explain this goal, communicate, focus on people and above all have integrity she told the students.
Greens Senator Bob Brown challenged the audience to look after our planet for future generations and that environmental considerations should dovetail with social justice issues such as the humane treatment of asylum seekers.
Sarah Ryan, champion 50m and 100m freestyle swimmer, advised students to take time to make up their minds about future careers and that “lows” in their lives will always go up and “highs” will happen like beating the US team in the medley event in 2001.
“It was important to have balance in your life,” she said.
Barbara Holborow was a Children’s Court Magistrate in Sydney for 12 years and explained that all too often neglected kids come from families who in turn were neglected children.
There was not enough support for educating parents, especially in the first three crucial years of life, she said.
Dr Ian Lin is managing director of the Quo Vadis Consulting Group but has held many positions in academia, business and government.
Of interest to the students was the bi-cultural element – Chinese by birth but Australian by education.
He spoke about the teamwork of his family to survive in a new country and the family commitment to be better than whoever you think you are.
He was concerned about world greed for immediate gratification by some countries and how we lack “a wise society”.
Dr Lin challenged the audience to avoid postponing today what you need to do about your future and to take the next step.
Christine Bath, channel 7 news presenter and Sunday Sunrise host, was the final presenter.
She maintained she head achieved her career path through luck, bluff and minimal talent.
She too advised students to not worry if they are not career focussed as they can change direction at any point.
At the same time, by working very hard during Years 11 and 12, your results will give you more opportunity to choose your career path, she said.
Teamwork was very important in the workplace and learning from the team was equally important, she said.
The Bega High School participants, Erin Ahkin, Alicia Ardern, Tenille Hay, Tom Cullen, Hannah McCann, Sarah Winkworth, Lauren Robertson and Tom Stiller, were divided about which presenter had the most impact, but all agreed they had been inspired by the day.
They were all particularly impressed by the ACT students who introduced the speakers, organised the tickets, operated the lights and microphones and videoed the day.
Thank you Mark Freedman who drove the bus and rescued the spare wheel with help from both Toms, while Erin entertained the curious bystanders with tales of Bega.
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