FUTURE STARS: 23 of our best and brightest
THE Northern Rivers is blessed with some truly talented young people.
In a year majorly disrupted by COVID-19, it's truly inspirational to tell stories of students who are kicking goals both inside and outside the classroom.
The following individuals are some The Northern Star has uncovered after asking schools to send in details about their best and brightest. Here's their hopes, dreams and ambitions for the future:
1. Sophie Painter - Kadina High School
Sophie has been part of the SRC team at Kadina High School which participated at the statewide regional challenge which placed third. Next year, Sophie hopes to maintain high grades in her subjects while juggling extra-curricular activities. In the future, you might see Sophie in a local hospital as she plans to go to university to study nursing.
2. Abbey Bailey - Lismore High
Keep an eye out because you might one day see Abbey's byline on The Northern Star website with Abbey having plans to undertake journalism at university.
"I would like to follow my passion for journalism. I believe it is a great way of sharing the right information with people."
Abbey took out the Regional Lions Youth of the Year interview and public speaking competition which she described as an "amazing experience".
3. Bailey Crabtree - Lismore High
A star on the track and in the classroom, Bailey was part of the NSW School's athletic team which competed at the Australian Schools Athletic Championships. Bailey managed fourth place in his age group for his event.
"I really like travelling as part of a team, the professional coaches that we had and the amazing facilities we were able to use," Bailey said.
Bailey is aiming to continue to juggle his sporting and scholastic endeavours and make the NSW athletics team or study education at university.
4: Deklan D'Arney - Richmond River High
Deklan is helping the community and future students through his work with the green team at Richmond River High.
As part of the team, Deklan has helped build a menu board for the new school canteen and a cubby house for the Possums Early Education centre.
Deklan said this work was a passion of his and he hoped he could pass on his learnings to new team members next year.
"Next year at school I would really like to be a mentor for the new Year 8 Green Team members."
"I love doing hands on design and would like to be an engineer or artist."
5: Joshua Byrant - Richmond River High
Joshua is hoping to inspire the future generations after his stint as a school captain at Richmond River.
"As school captain in 2020, my responsibilities were very different from other years, I hope that I have inspired younger students to take on leadership roles in the future."
In the future, Joshua is hoping to attend University of Queensland to study aerospace engineering.
6. Clara Tolman - Alstonville High
Regular readers may recognise Clara from the Alstonville High team which developed an agriculture app that won the Australia-wide agriculture program.
Clara said while this year had proved challenging, she felt that Alstonville High offered it's students many opportunities to succeed.
"One of the main aspects I like about Alstonville High is that the staff are always on the lookout for competitions, work experience, traineeships and other extra-curricular activities that help students find their passion."
7. Eva Jones - Alstonville High
Eva Jones is known for excelling in the water but 2020 has shown her excellence academically by completing two of her HSC subjects a year early.
"Year 11 has certainly been challenging and stressful, however - for the most part - enjoyable." Eva said
Eva said she was considering many options after her time at Alstonville High ends.
"I enjoy so many different areas and subjects, so I know that whatever I do will have to be varied. It is highly possible I will have a gap year, to help me clarify what degree to choose, and so I can travel and experience more of the world."
8. Lee Pagotto - St Johns Woodlawn
Lee Pagotto could be your next local parliament representative with his plans to study a Bachelor of Laws at Bond University.
Lee's experience as Woodlawn as school captain in 2020 and undertaking the Cambodian Immersion Program in 2018 fuelled his ambitions for leadership.
9. Daniel Westerman - St Johns Woodlawn
Daniel is St John's College Woodlawn's School Captain for 2021 and he is excited for what the next year may bring.
For the school year ahead I have high hopes on what the school leadership team can achieve. I envision teamwork, collaboration, and an integral focus on servant leadership.
After school, Daniel is looking forward to studying a Bachelor of Business and possibly major in marketing to make best use of his skills he's learnt at Woodlawn.
10. Molly O'Toole - St Johns Woodlawn
Maths isn't usually a popular pick as a favourite subject, but Molly finds the challenges as maths part of the allure.
Molly just completed the maths advanced HSC course and exam and received the academic achievement award as for being the best in the course.
"To me, maths is something that has always clicked. It helps me learn more about the world around us and is a mechanism to help formulate new understandings."
The satisfaction of reaching the answer through a long and complicated process is just one of the reasons I find the subject so intriguing."
11. Ella Spackman - St Johns Woodlawn
For Ella, art is more than just a side hobby and creative outlet. It's a passion she hopes will be a prominent part of her life after graduating Woodlawn.
With hopes of starting her own drawing business and art school in the years to come, Ella encouraged all students to follow their passions.
"I wish for all students coming through in the coming years to choose subjects based on their hobbies and interests, as I have found this is where my hard work and best marks come from."
12: Zoe Leadbeatter-O'Reilly - St Johns Woodlawn
It is a challenge to juggle school and a normal life but Zoe Leadbeatter-O'Reilly has started her own small business Worth Fitness.
The kitchen whiz has found a love of food and fitness and is passionate about pursuing either industry post-school.
"For the near approaching year of 2021, I will continue my studies here at St John's College Woodlawn where I hope to push myself beyond limitations, step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to become the best version of myself," Zoe said.
13. Myles Wellman - St Johns Woodlawn
Myles has been involved with agriculture his whole life and it remains his main passion as he enters his final year of high school.
Myles is currently completing a traineeship and was nominated for the school based trainee of the year and finished as a top three finalist for the North Coast/ Far North Coast.
Post school, Myles wants to explore his passion for agriculture further with a bachelor of agriculture or rural science at University of New England.
14. Declan Hemphill - Byron Bay High
It might be an unpopular but for Declan Hemphill, maths is a passion not a bore. So much so, Declan will continue his HSC at Byron Bay High while starting a mathematics degree at the University of Wollongong.
Outside of the classroom, the accelerated student is hoping TwentyOne Pilots might help him out while he tackles a seven subject load next year.
"Music is pretty essential for me. Periods of up to 16 weeks with a minimum of three hours of after school study a day can be rather dire without some tunes to help it all flow," Declan said.
15. Beau Chaseling - Byron Bay High School
If biotechnology didn't sound impressive enough, how about starting a company which will tackle the fundamental problems with the human condition?
That is the goal of Beau Chaseling, who completed his HSC at the age of 15 and now hopes to study in biotechnology and genetics at Queensland University of Technology.
"I have been very lucky that BBHS is such a great school. I think all the kids know that Ms Marcus, our principal, really believes in us. She always supported me, and I know at times it was difficult for her to help me in my ambition to finish high school in three years."
16. Finn Crethar - Byron Bay High
Finn is an accelerated student and already completed two units of mathematics and music extension 1 while still being in Year 11.
Finn said the teachers at Byron Bay High had been key to helping him fuel his music hobby.
"Some of the things that I like about my school and music is how encouraging and inclusive all the teachers are. They manage to provide a wide range of opportunities to all students no matter what instrument they play or their skill level."
17. Kiahn Ladkin - Byron Bay High
Accelerated in dance, Kiahn is part of Bangarra Dance Theatre and the winner of a Go Foundation Scholarship.
"I like dancing because it is a more practical subject and genuinely I really enjoy it, also studying in an excelled program and finishing earlier will allow me some more space for my studies next year."
At the moment, Kiahn is focusing on the year ahead and completing her schooling at Byron Bay High.
18. Maysa Walton - Mullumbimby High School
COVID-19 hit everyone hard, but Maysa Walton used the pandemic to help educate and spread awareness in regional communities which were extremely vulnerable.
In addition, Maysa's project on the Solomon Islands saw her become a national finalist and runner-up in the Young Change Agents coronavirus challenge.
19. John Ray - Mullumbimby High School
Mandy Hale said that there was nothing more beautiful than someone who creates a beautiful life for others and Mullumbimby High student John Ray has gone some way to doing that.
John developed an app, A. D. Helper, which helps the disabled community find safe and comfortable places that cater to their needs.
20. Cooper Nelson - Mullumbimby High
Cooper Nelson has lit up the rugby field this year for the Mullumbimby Giants which was recognised with a club player of the year award.
Scoring tries all over the field, Cooper captained the Mullumbimby Giants U/14 side to glory in the NRRRL Nines U/14 competition. Keep an eye out, Cooper Nelson may feature on an NRL list in the future.
21. Amanda Bower - Mullumbimby High
Amanda was recognised for her commitment to studying by Southern Cross University. Her academic rigour won her an award.
Amanda has already completed her HSC Extension 1 and Extension 2 mathematics courses, ahead of time.
22 and 23. Indi Gumbrell and Jackson Constable
The two new student leaders and SRC representatives represented Mullumbimby High at the Minister's Student Council forum and the Constitution Convention which provided them valuable leadership experience.
If you would like to see your school represented in the next Future Leaders piece, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.