Hills students show max potential

Reading potential: Northmead Creative and performing Arts High student Dalia Al Haj Qasem with children's books she will donate to the Villawood Detention Centre.

Reading potential: Northmead Creative and performing Arts High student Dalia Al Haj Qasem with children's books she will donate to the Villawood Detention Centre.

The Max Potential program is a 22 week scholarship-based course which helps year 11 participants develop leadership skills. The students are given a mentor and learn 10 life principles to help them maximise every opportunity. Here some share their project goals.

■ High Skills

Marian College student Ella Tessarolo introduced a 10-week program to help year 7 students adapt to the demands of high school by enhancing their organisational skills and confidence in class.

The High Skills program will run at lunch times for students within the school.

 ‘‘I have always had a passion for helping others and thought this would be a great opportunity to use some of my own skills to help younger students,’’ Ella said.

‘‘I feel this would be a great opportunity for personal development not only for the year 7 students but for myself as well.’’

Year 7 leader of learning Ellen Lincoln said the project would have a positive influence on the school community and potentially help students who struggle with the transition to high school.

‘‘Often students need assistance to properly develop the organisational and motivational skills needed to survive and succeed in year 7,’’ she said.

‘‘Having enthusiastic and friendly senior students as guides and role models for the students will be really powerful.

‘‘The younger students will be able to see what these skills look like in practice, develop productive relationships with older students and develop their confidence within the new high school environment.’’

■ The Homeless Helping Hand

Branden Dorahy initiated a drive to collect warm clothes for the homeless.

The Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School student’s project aimed to give homeless people of all ages some comfort in winter. About 27 per cent of homeless people in Australia are under 18.

The clothes collected will be donated to non-profit organisation Sydney Homeless Connect on August 1 and distributed where needed.

Branden said he had learnt that homelessness was more common than people think, and it didn’t just affect people seen on the streets.

‘‘It doesn’t take much to give hope and to help,’’ he said.

‘‘We should appreciate everything that we have.’’

 Free to Read

Dalia Al Haj Qasem collected books for children at the Villawood Detention Centre. 

The Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School vice captain’s project aims to donate 300 language dictionaries and children’s picture books for the centre by August 1.

 ‘‘Speaking to past detainees and hearing their stories is so enlightening and only makes me more motivated to make a difference and achieve measures of social justice within the community,’’ she said.

“The community spirit and generous donations so far are extremely overwhelming.

“Everyone is really keen on helping, especially students at my school. I have requested for people to write uplifting messages in the front cover of the books to personalise their donations.”

Dalia is also a passionate young filmmaker and aims to create a video, inspired by her project, to attempt to remove the negative stigmas associated with detainees of detention centres.

■ Developing Leaders

Grace Barclay created the five-week course to prepare year 9 and 10 students for school-based leadership roles.

The Rouse Hill Anglican College student aims to increase student involvement in leadership and community projects at her school.

She as highlighted opportunities like the World Vision global leader’s convention and Castle Hill RSL Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge.

 “The program intends to empower students to get involved in leadership roles and highlight great opportunities that students may not have known about,’’ Grace said.

Castle Hill RSL group marketing manager and Max Potential coach, Melanie Morson, said the project was a great legacy for Grace to leave.

“It’s been inspiring to share Grace’s leadership journey and see the confidence and relationships she has developed as part of the Max Potential Program,’’ she said.

■ Sex trafficking awareness conference

Benjamin Razey held a sex trafficking awareness conference at his school on July 29. 

The Rouse Hill Anglican College student said one person became a victim of the practice every 30 seconds globally.

 “Sex trafficking is not typically seen as a significant issue in Australia and I want to change the misconstrued mentality that society currently has on what is a very large problem,’’ he said.

Conference guest speakers included one from the A21 campaign to abolish slavery run in conjunction with Hillsong Church.

Photos of the event will be left in the school library for students to see and reflect.

A survey before and after the conference hopes to measure its impact.

“No change is going to occur if no-one knows that change needs to occur,’’ Benjamin said.

■ Max Potential program partners include Castle Hill RSL Club, Future Achievement Australia Foundation, Woolworths Limited, The University of Western Sydney, Pendragon, Event Cinemas, Hills Council and Clubs NSW.

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