The Student Leadership Programme

Samuel Foster learns leaders must serve their communities (Hawkesbury Gazette)

Young leaders from Hawkesbury and The Hills had a rare opportunity to meet one of Australia’s foremost business leaders, with Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti joining local students and Member for Hawkesbury Dominic Perrottet for the first 2016 Hawkesbury-Hills Student Leadership Programme mentoring dinner on Wednesday.

Inspiring tales, leadership insights and award-winning pies from event host Glenorie Bakery were on the menu, as Mr Borghetti spoke to students about his journey from Italian child migrant to becoming the head of one of Australia’s largest airlines.

Mr Perrottet, who coordinates the Programme, said it was fantastic to have role models like Mr Borghetti taking the time to mentor student leaders at such close quarters.

“Successful leaders in our community can do so much to inspire our young people, and I know that meeting John and hearing his story is something that will make a lasting impressing on the students who were there on Wednesday,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Leadership takes hard work, perseverance, and a spirit of service, and it is invaluable to have someone of John’s calibre sharing his personal story to make a difference in our young people’s lives.”

The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the two days we spent at the Nyangatjatjara Primary School in Docker River.

During those two days we picked up rubbish, hosed down sport equipment, sorted books and had the opportunity to spend some time with the primary school kids in their classrooms.

The joy evident on their faces and the sheer wonder and excitement they displayed for life will stay with me for a long time.

However, one cannot visit a remote Indigenous community such as Docker River and not notice the neglect and hardship all around.

As we were leaving the primary school and saying goodbye, it broke my heart to think of the potentially horrifying and hard lives that most of those happy, joyful and smiling children I’d gotten to know would lead.

This trip opened my eyes to many things such as the severity and complexity of the plight of Indigenous Australians throughout remote regions.

It is not a clear-cut issue but rather one that we have yet to find a solution to.

I have come to realise that something must be done and that it is our job as Australians to help each other, yet it seems as if we don’t know how.

Perhaps, with time, we can move forward as a country without prejudice, judgment and self-importance, to encourage the growth of all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this once in a lifetime experience.