Tonight we had Sara Belkner from King’s Baptist Grammar present on her recent attendance of the National Youth Science Forum in January.
This year, due to the COVID situation, the NYSF program was run online and each day the students engaged in several web based talks & presentations.
Most in which we just listened to however a few were interactive. I was able to extract DNA from a strawberry in my bedroom which was pretty cool and a few nights a week we had small groups where we did little activities together. These small groups contained NYSFers from all around Australia and this was the only interaction we had with people outside our state.
NYSF 2021 also consisted of 3 in-person STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) visits. These STEM visits allowed Sara to make close relationships with like minded people from all over South Australia.
I was able to make a few really close friends which i am very grateful for. My favourite in person visit was at the University campus at Roseworthy. Te day was full of activities and I learnt an endless amount of information on a range of animal activity, nature and animal fertility which was extremely interesting.
Unfortunately, Sara had to report that she personally, and many other applicants she met, found the online courses difficult to connect with and irrelevant from their personal interests.This is a shame to hear, as previous years the main draw of the NYSF program was to connect students with others around Australia and immerse them in a variety of professions, businesses and institutions. To give them real-life experiences and open them up to new possibilities.
Nevertheless, I certainly learnt many new things and discovered topics that I never knew existed. Therefore this experience was certainly very beneficial and I am extremely grateful for your help and support.
Our club enjoys supporting students like Sara and believe its a important opportunity for them in furthering their education & future careers.
CONGRATULATIONS to the 2020 School & Community Service Award recipients! Due to the COVID situation we finally got to meet these inspirational students who strive to make a difference not only in their schools but in the wider community!
This week we had three student speaking to us about their projects that they achieved in 2020. They are Trent Heaver from King’s Baptist Grammar, Alana Armstrong from Golden Grove High School and Connor Brennan from Pedare Christian College. Unfortunately, Gleeson College didn’t have a candidate for this term.
Trent actually turned 18 years old on the day of the presentation (many happy returns!) and graduated from King’s Baptist last year. You also might remember him from last year when the club supported him to attend the National Youth Science Forum.
Trent was head prefect for King’s last year and alongside the rest of the prefect team ran various initiatives. While the larger projects were significantly disrupted by COVID, they were able to shift their focus to building community within our own Year 12 cohort.
Despite things certainly looking differently, and being significantly smaller, these events still had a profound effect in bringing about connection and cohesion between individuals. Which of course is something that was particularly important last year. I’d love to now share with you a taste of my favourite initiative, and I invite all of you to join in. While we initially designed and ran this activity for R – 5 students, I believe that it holds an important message for all of us to consider, no matter our age. This activity focusses on one of the schools principals, which is fairness and we designed it to challenge the traditional notion that fairness is everyone getting the same thing.
So, let’s begin. I’d like for all of you to please close your eyes and imagine that you have hurt yourself in some way. Think about how you hurt yourself, where you hurt yourself and how it feels…?
Ok now, I’d like for all of you to imagine that I’ve given each of you a band aid on your wrist.
Has that helped anyone with their injury? Their pain? Even though everyone received the same treatment, it didn’t really help any of you. What would have been more helpful is if each of you received the correct treatment for your own injuries…
So, really fairness may not be about everyone getting the same thing, but rather about everyone getting what they need to succeed and thrive for themselves. It was very inspiring to hear the responses of the younger students, some of whom even applied the ideas to topics of mental health and other broader applications. We also used this activity as an opportunity to discuss our schools connection with Cambodia, helping younger students to understand why we help students from another country. The notion of fairness even still challenges me, and is something that I regularly consider in my dayto-day life.
In fact, through my involvement with your club over the past couple of years I have come too see how Rotary achieves fairness in this way with their local and global projects, supporting those who are less advantaged in our communities.
In addition to his efforts within school, Trent volunteers with the City of Tea Tree Gully as a trainer with their youth leadership program; and the Ridgehaven Road and Cycle Safety centre, helping to teach children how to ride bikes safely. Trent’s strong character and passion for supporting his fellow person and community has led him to received many offers to study medicine in many Australian Universities- which we wish him the best of luck.
Alana from Golden Grove High School, started a mentor and tutoring program during her final year. This program was created to help year 9 students not only with their studies but also to help those students whose studies are affected by other factors such as their home life.
The student I was matched with was a student whose studies were affected by the struggles she faced in her home life. My teacher asked if I could teach her resilience, organisation, confidence within herself and in her studies. During my time with the year 9 student I thoroughly enjoyed watching her grow and gain confidence within herself that she was able to learn and gain amazing results in her schooling, although tutoring schooling, was a big part of the program relating and talking to her about my personal experiences with resilience and gaining a bond that allowed her to open up to me was also a significant part of the program. We still continue this bond as I still provide support to her and her schooling after the program has finished.
This program not only helped the year 9 students to immensely improve in their schooling and their spirit but gave Alana the benefit of real world experience to aid in her future venture in the paramedicine industry. As the project gave her the opportunity to attain skills and knowledge of working with younger people and being able to help and relate to them in all aspects of their lives and not just in school. We hope Alana can continue with this program and connection with her community as it had a positive symbiotic effect.
Connor is a year 12 student at Pedare Christian College, who has taken his enthusiasm for Lego construction to whole new level.
It began with his first commissions of building replicas of the newly upgraded Her Majesty’s Theatre and the Pedare Middle School that led to being noticed by Dr Sean Geoghegan (State Director of Radiation Oncology Medical Physics at the Royal Adelaide Hospital) at a technology show at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Connor was asked if there was a possibility of building a small lego model of a Radiotherapy machine for head & neck cancer (also known as a Linac) to be made for children who are going through the treatment, and another model for clinics to use so they can show their patients the treatment. There was about 100 hours of designing that was put in from the first prototype, to the final model which can be seen on his website Connor’s Bricks. The Lego model of the Linear Accelerator (Linac) are for children to build, play with, and to aid reducing any anxiety they have for their treatment. This project sparked major attention all around Australia: Channel 10 news did a story on it which was aired nationwide; he invited to speak on Channel 9 news live for the Project; ABC radio did a segment on the model; as well as the Advertiser wrote a feature article. In June 2019, he was invited to Sydney to speak at a health conference in front of 1000 doctors, nurses and scientists about the project. This was great exposure for the project, and with the help of Julie McCrossin (another major supporter of this project), the orders started coming in. From November 2019 to now, 51 sets have been sold to places all around the world, including England, USA, Mexico, Spain, Japan, Canada and many more. The young entrepreneur is about to buy more parts for more Linacs and is still learning about better processes to shipping these sets off to their customers, but this knowledge will help him in the future for a more efficient system. Connor will be attending a Rotary organised Lego Expo at Onkabrixs in Onkaparinga on the 27-28 March , and be proudly displaying the Linacs model to the community and hopefully gain more support for the project.
There was no overall winner this time (it would of been very difficult to choose anyway) but the club wishes to thank each student for their commitment to their community and we hope that the award will encourage them to continue with more inspiring projects. If you like to know more about this award please follow this LINK.