VCE Leadership Awards 2019 finalists
A panel of seven judges from the VCAA and the Foundation for Young Australians chose the VCE Leaders and finalists in the awards, which recognise the active participation and contribution of outstanding Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) students in their schools and in the community.
Applicants for the awards were nominated by their school and a community member for showing a range of leadership qualities and positive engagement in and out of school.
The six 2019 VCE Leadership Awards finalists were interviewed as part of the selection process. They are:
Gleneagles Secondary College
Maya Ghassali migrated with her family to Australia in 2012 after fleeing the Syrian Civil War. In 2017 Maya and her sister created the podcast ‘Refugees on Air’ to share stories of refugee courage and inspiration. In 2018 she was the recipient of the Friends of Refugees Youth Achievement Award, in recognition of her outstanding contribution and commitment to the local community.
As a volunteer at Student Youth Network Media, a Delegate at the UN Youth Victoria Annual State Conference and College Captain at her school, Maya is committed to a wide variety of worthy activities within her school and community. Notable also is her participation in the 2018 YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament, where her team lobbied for the Public Availability of Sanitary Products Bill 2018, proposing to have free sanitary products available in all government buildings.
‘My leadership style is heavily influenced by my ability to engage with people from different backgrounds. As a Syrian migrant studying at a multicultural school, I have been equipped with the skills needed to engage an audience of diverse members, to voice their opinions and reassure them that their ideas matter.’
Lavalla Catholic College
Lincoln Ingravalle served as Latrobe City Council Youth Mayor from February 2018 to February 2019. During his tenure, he focused on raising awareness about the high levels of mental health issues in his local community. Lincoln has also worked as a volunteer in Timor-Leste as a UN Youth Australia Delegate, teaching English in rural and urban schools, and meeting government officials and NGOs.
He was also the recipient of the 2018 Premier’s Spirit of ANZAC Prize, conducting speaking tours, wreath laying and giving the commemorative speech at a local Remembrance Day service. Lincoln’s duties as College Captain at Lavalla Catholic College have included overseeing major quarterly fundraising events for causes, including bushfire relief, cancer care and motor neurone disease research.
‘For the longest time, I have had a passion for leadership. Not because I want my name on the headline or to be praised for my work. I am driven instead by my love for the success of others. We all have dreams, aspirations and skills that deserve to be highlighted. It is not my wish to display mine to the world but use them to showcase others.’
Cobram Secondary College
A recipient of the JT Rossiter Citizenship Award for the Berrigan Shire and the University of Melbourne Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship, Ellie Jones has encouraged engaging young people in her local community. As a Rural Youth Ambassador, she has helped to instigate the Rural Inspire Program, which provides funds to foster local youth educational opportunities.
Ellie has also been instrumental in securing vital funding for the Cobram Community Cinema Project, in order to restore a treasured local landmark. She previously attended the Global Young Leaders Conference in the United States and participated in the Education State Student Advisory Group. Another of Ellie’s projects is the School Climate Change Walk Out event, in which she takes a leadership role as a member of the Student Representative Council.
‘I believe that effective leaders are able to collectively build a vision and consult with members of the team in order to effectively plan for change. This allows the team to draw upon the range of strengths and ideas, ensuring collective ownership of the project and a much greater chance for success.’
Fintona Girls’ School
As the co-founder of Climate Leaders and a speaker and writer for climate action, Maiysha Moin has successfully raised awareness about climate change in her school and community. Maiysha instigated the Fintona Green Team at her school, a club for all year levels to contribute their ideas and efforts to create a healthier environment. She was the media spokesperson for Melbourne School Strike 4 Climate in March 2019, a speaker at Leadership Victoria, and part of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
Maiysha has been a One Girl Ambassador for several years, raising funds for social justice causes, and is a recipient of the Kooyong Student Prize. She has represented her school in the Rostrum Voice of Youth competition and was a finalist in her school’s Elisabeth M Butt Public Speaking competition. She is a passionate advocate for the environment and for social change.
‘As a young woman, there have been many systemic and local issues that I have earnestly wished to change. The most empowering part of my education has been when I realised that, with my privilege and my well-rounded education, I no longer had to wish for change, but could enact it myself.’
Sophie-Kate Shaw has organised several fundraising activities to support members of her local community, including drought-stricken farmers in south-west Victoria. She initiated a fundraiser for the Buy A Bale campaign, which donated hay to Rural Aid, and also drove ‘Blue for Ben Day’, to help purchase a seizure alert dog for a local boy with disability.
Sophie-Kate has been an active leader in several Student Representative Council events and activities. She encouraged her school to hold a fundraiser to restore a retired W-class Melbourne tram and also volunteered for the Good Friday Appeal, Terang College’s Biggest Morning Tea, and at the May Noonan Aged Care Facility in Terang.
She is also an accomplished equestrienne, having competed in several national competitions. Sophie-Kate’s elite skills were recognised in 2016, when she was awarded the Australian Government Sports Achievement Award.
‘The great leaders that I admire are all willing to listen and willing to accept new ideas while encouraging and being accepting of others. While I still have so much to learn about leadership, I try to implement these ideals as much as possible.’
Lachlan Warwick has developed a program to support victims of family violence in his community. In collaboration with local charitable organisation, WRISC Family Violence Support, he has developed Friendship Bags containing supplies and toys. These bags provide support to families and young people suffering the effects and aftershocks of domestic violence.
Lachlan has also been involved with a range of community activities and organisations, including Round Square, Days for Girls, the Rotary Club and the Red Shield Appeal. He is also part of his school’s Peer Mentoring Program, providing assistance and support to younger students with learning needs.
A keen sportsperson who has volunteered for several years extensively as an AFL boundary umpire, Lachlan is also the recipient of the Positive Youth Leader Award in the City of Ballarat Youth Leader Awards.
‘Being a student at Grammar, I have deeply appreciated and valued the opportunities the school provides in terms of service, giving back and offering support on a local and international level. These unique programs have helped me to develop gratitude, self-confidence and leadership skills. Service is about doing something with a deeper meaning and helping others in need.’