Students from Holy Family Primary Luddenham left a lasting impression on Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC Governor of NSW during her recent visit, displaying an impressive understanding of politics, government and what it takes to be a good leader.
“It means that you respect the people you are leading,” explained Year 6 student Elise Fenech. “You listen to what they have to say before you make decisions and be responsible and respectful.”
“It doesn’t mean having all the power over people,” added Year 5 student Diana Baric, “It means that you have the ability to guide your people through good and bad things and to help and respect your state, city or country.”
“It means to be trustworthy and care for all the community,” said Year 6 student Tyler Orphin.
It was those sorts of responses which particularly impressed the Governor.
“They’re very well educated, very articulate,” said Her Excellency. “They certainly have a really good grasp on the concepts that they are learning about and what responsible government is all about. It’s a great credit to the teachers here.”
“These kids are only about eight years away from voting,” she added. “You really want them to be informed. You want them to understand the concepts of responsible government, the structures of government and why they might be important.”
Stage 3 teacher Katherine Ohlsen was inspired to invite the Governor to visit after the school’s regular excursion to Canberra was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As part of their education about government and politics, the school held a unique mock parliament in September when students presented ‘bills’ for things they wanted done at the school. Students had to develop proposals and deliver a combined presentation on the merits of their respective bills.
Initially happy to arrange a virtual visit, the school was thrilled to hear that the Governor was so impressed with the school’s programs that she wished to visit in person.
Student groups also had an opportunity to present their Western Sydney Airport designs to the Governor, part of their investigation into the changing face of Western Sydney. Students had to plan a base map which included constructing roads, residential housing, fuel farm, waste disposal, a metropolis and also an aspect of Aboriginal culture.
“This is a beautifully set out school,” she said. “The students are articulate, they’re interesting, they’re fun.”
“We had a huge discussion around parliamentary aspects and also looked at their project work around the new airport. Thinking forward about what they want their community to look like. This is a school where they’re really educating the students to be thinking, thoughtful, future-focused and dynamic individuals.”
Students came up with some fascinating insights when asked what they would do for their local community if they were Governor including Hayden Gill (Yr 6) who cut straight to the chase saying, “Put a Woolworths in it!”
- Tahlee Lewin (Yr 5): I would create more job opportunities for older and younger generations cause they are the ones suffering most during COVID-19.
- Oscar Zamprogno (Yr 6): I would bring the wealthy and not so wealthy closer together by building more shopping centres and cafes in the right areas and not building in protected areas.
- Alexandria Pelle (Yr 6): I would go around to the local St Vincent De Paul and donate money to the less fortunate people.
- Diana Baric (Yr5): I would give jobs for the community so they can help feed themselves and their family.
- Tyler Orphin (Yr 6): I would change bullying because one in seven children has experienced bullying so I would try my hardest to put an end to it. And I would make sure everyone has a home or somewhere to at least be safe and fed because everyone is the same and no one should be treated differently.
- Alicia Buttigieg (Yr 6): I would respect people and try to understand their needs because the governor is someone who serves. See a need and do something about it to make the place a better place to be.
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.