The Student Leadership Programme

Welcome to the Student Leadership Programme

The Hawkesbury-Hills Student Leadership Programme provides students with the opportunity to cultivate their intellectual foundations and develop the skills necessary to enable them to be effective leaders in their careers and in their communities.

Held throughout the final school year the Programme involves monthly mentor dinners featuring leading Australian men and women.  Each individual speaker will provide a unique insight into the moral and intellectual challenges of leadership in professional life.

The Programme is based around the theme of service and this year will culminate with the students undertaking a service project with an Indigenous community in central Australia.

In doing so the Programme serves as a point of difference and provide a more constructive avenue for students celebrating graduation from school and embracing the freedom that arises from that.

The schoolies tradition is best defined by the National Schoolies Website itself which says:

“The most enduring Schoolies Week tradition is the first run down to the beach and dive into the ocean after school is finished forever. That plunge of freedom is the essence of freedom Schoolies symbolises.”

By travelling to Uluru-Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory and working alongside other students and staff at Nyangatjatara College our students will gain valuable insight and appreciation for the local community, while having several opportunities to develop their spirit of service and making the most of their newfound freedom to help others.

Over the course of the Programme students will learn from members of the Indigenous community as well as leaders in business, education, government and the military.  I am confident that students will come away from the Programme inspired to care for others, serve the community and to persevere through the challenges that come their way in life.


Dominic Perrottet, MP

About the Student Leadership Programme


The Programme is open to year 12 students from high schools across the Hawkesbury electorate. Schools each had the opportunity to nominate two students.

Over the course of the Programme students participate in a series of dinners hosted by a number of leaders who have made significant contributions to their communities and to our nation.

The dinners provide students with an intimate environment to learn from the various experiences and challenges that each leader has faced and – more importantly – overcome on their journey to success.

The Programme is based around the theme of service and this year will culminate with the students undertaking a service project with an Indigenous community in central Australia.

The Patron of the Hawkesbury-Hills Student Leadership Programme, Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, hosted an inaugural dinner in March and was attended by NSW Premier The Hon. Mike Baird MP, sponsors, community leaders, parents and teachers.


The completion of the Higher School Certificate marks for many Australians the beginning of a journey towards adulthood and the development of social identity. For the past 30 years in Australia this transition has commenced with a ‘rite of passage’ known as Schoolies Week.

Schoolies in Australia typically involves groups of 17-18 year olds travelling to various tourist destinations such as the Gold Coast for a week of partying to celebrate their new found freedom associated with their graduation from school.

Unfortunately Schoolies Week has become synonymous with drugs, binge drinking, sex, vandalism and violence. For many young people it is their first experience of these things and it can be life-changing in a very negative way.

A snapshot from studies taken over the years of students participating in ‘Schoolies Week’ celebrations has found:

  • In 1995 75% of male schoolies and 53% of female schoolies reported being drunk most or every day or night;
  • in 2010 almost two-thirds of schoolies consumed more than ten drinks per night;
  • in 2011 25% of male schoolies and 14% of females reported being stoned most of every day or night;
  • and a 2010 study found that one-third of males were expecting to have sex with multiple partners during schoolies week.

Importantly it has been found that most young people who look back at their time on schoolies do so with regret and have a strong sense of negativity towards their experience.

The Student Leadership Programme offers an alternative to graduating students across the Hawkesbury electorate. With a distinct focus on service the Programme aims to instill an immense appreciation of the freedoms we enjoy in Australia as well as valuable understanding of how those freedoms came to be.

The Programme will emphasise a ‘big picture’ vision of personal and professional development which will inspire our young leaders to act responsibly and articulate a spirit of service as they transition from school life to fully fledged members of society.