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Finalists

VCE Leadership Awards 2021 finalists

A panel of four judges from the VCAA chose the 2021 VCE Leaders. The awards recognise active participation and contribution of outstanding Victorian Certificate of Education students in their schools and in the community. They were particularly relevant in 2021 given the challenges faced by students, schools and the broader community.

The six 2021 VCE Leadership Awards finalists were interviewed as part of the selection process. They are:

Amelia Bailey

Bendigo Senior Secondary College

young woman smiling

Amelia Bailey

In recent years Amelia has made a significant impact as a leader in her school and local community.

As a senior member of the Bendigo Senior Secondary College Student Leadership Team, Amelia has taken an active role in co-hosting and performing at the college's annual awards ceremony. She also assisted in organising the Bendigo School Strike for Climate.

Within her the local community, Amelia has volunteered at the St Vincent De Paul store. She also played a key role in organising the Hope Initiative, where students write letters or poetry for local aged-care residents, creating intergenerational connections and lifting community spirit during COVID-19.

Sara Coladonato

Williamstown High School

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Sara Coladonato

While completing her VCE, Sara has engaged in several environmental conservation projects at Williamstown High School and in the wider community.

She has played an integral role in forming the school's Environment Club. The club has since coordinated a revegetation program of over 800 indigenous plants and implemented a waste recycling program.

Sara's continued advocacy of environmental initiatives has led to her publishing an article in the Italian newspaper Il Globo. Sara also co-authors regular articles on environmental matters for the school's quarterly newspaper.

With a focus on the future, Sara is organising an environmental leadership workshop for local primary schools to empower children to make change in their own networks.

Michaela Goggin

Frankston High School

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Michaela Goggin

As a student at Frankston High School, Michaela is a strong leader on environmental issues. She has initiated a single-use plastic ban policy at the school and laid plans for the school to become zero-waste into the future.

Following interviews with well-known experts and local community leaders, Michaela created YouTube videos to empower, engage and educate the wider community on environmental issues.

Michaela has played a key role in her school’s Mindfulness, Empathy, Gratitude, Acceptance and Resilience Week, organising presentations to educate the younger year levels on environmental sustainability.

As the school’s Interact Team President, Michaela has organised a wide range of projects and fundraising initiatives designed to assist those less fortunate within the local community.

Benjamin Okely

Greater Shepparton Secondary College

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Benjamin Okely

Through his involvement in Scouts Australia and as College Captain at Greater Shepparton Secondary College, Ben is a role model to other young people in his community.

Ben regularly addresses school assemblies, hoping to inspire his peers to be the best they can be and to rise to their personal challenges.

As a school leader, he has assisted his peers to transition to remote learning. He also played a key role as a student representative during the recent merger of four local secondary schools.

Within the Scouting movement, Ben mentors others as a Cub leader and leads his local Venturer Unit. In recognition of his outstanding contribution, Ben has received a Queen's Scout Award and an Australian Scout Medallion.

Adele Roeder

St Columba's College

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Adele Roeder

Adele is the Environment Captain as St Columba's College and has led several initiatives in her school and local community.

Throughout 2021, she coordinated a student-led project to design, maintain and plant a garden to foster a greater sense of environmental responsibility in her school.

With the aim of educating her peers, Adele also created 'A Student's Guide to Sustainability', containing tips and information to help students adopt more sustainable habits.

As a member of Moonee Valley Sustainability, Adele uses her skills to bridge the gap between youth and other community groups to collaborate on environmental action. This includes participating in clean-up days and planning for a local community garden.

Rachel Tan

Mount Waverley Secondary College

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Rachel Tan

Rachel's leadership is focused on empowering young people in her community. During COVID-19 lockdowns, she helped to prepare meals packs for international students studying at Deakin University.

Rachel has also volunteered in a range of initiatives coordinated by Operation Stitches, including assisting to deliver holiday programs for disadvantaged children living in public housing estates.

As a College Prefect at Mount Waverley Secondary College, Rachel has also been actively involved in the school's student voice programs, Mount Matters and Mini Mount Matters, creating opportunities for young people to have a voice and take part in genuine student-led change.