Our primary school future leaders recognised

The 32 awardees at Rotary Club of Eastwood-Gladesville's 6th Annual Primary Schools Leadership Awards from participating schools: Denistone East Public School, Dundas Public School, Eastwood Public School, Eastwood Heights Public School, Ermington Public School, Ermington West Public School, Meadowbank Public School, Melrose Park Public School, Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Primary School, Rydalmere East Public School, St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, St Kevin’s Catholic Primary School, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, St Therese’s Catholic Primary School, West Ryde Public School and Yates Avenue Public School with (Back L to R) Rotarian Safar Sarmed, President of Eastwood-Gladesville Rotary, Mark Rosenberg and Rotary District Governor Susan Wakefield, Parramatta MP Geoff Lee, Ryde MP Victor Dominello, Federal Member for Bennelong John Alexander and (far right) Past Rotary President Narelle Barker and (to her left) Year 7 Ascham student, Giselle Parras.

Some of our best and brightest future leaders from primary schools across TWT Territory have been recognised in the 6th Annual Primary Schools Leadership Awards.

Hosted by the Rotary Club of Eastwood-Gladesville last month at Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club, more than 220 guest attended the ceremony and dinner.

Certificates were presented to 32 students in Year 6 across 16 local primary schools, were recognised as future leaders by community leaders from the political sphere and Rotary.

Watched by their proud families and teachers, each student was presented on stage with a framed certificate and congratulatory letters from Rotary District Governor, Susan Wakefield, the Member for  Bennelong, John Alexander, state MP for Ryde, Victor Dominello and state MP for Parramatta, Geoff Lee.

The students also received movie passes, donated by Event Cinemas Top Ryde and two bags of goodies.

“It would not be a have been a Rotary event without a raffle and many local businesses supported it with the donation of a large number of prizes,” Narelle Barker, Past Rotary President and MC for the evening, told The Weekly Times.

“Rotarians added to the variety of items on offer. The raffle draw was an exciting, entertaining finale to the evening.

“I’m thrilled this year’s event has been another success and wish to acknowledge the generous financial support of our major sponsors St George Bank Eastwood, One Giant Leap Australia and Medibank.”

Guests were also also treated to an address by 13-year-old Giselle Parras, now in Year 7 at Ascham, formerly a member of the SchoolAid Kids Ambassador Team and now Youth Ambassador for SchoolAid, on the topic of guests on ‘Leadership and Philanthropy’, which offered encouragement and advice.

“You are all leaders but that leadership can and should be used in so many other ways that helps the greater community,” Giselle said in her poignant message to the evening’s award recipients.

“Using your leadership skills to get the word out about spreading happiness to the world and helping others is a simple and easy thing to do.

“Being a leader is about encouraging others to follow you, to lead them in the right direction to support and help others less fortunate.”

Showing wisdom beyond her years, Giselle even included a line encapsulating the wisdom of one of the world’s most successful figures in the world of business and philanthropy.

“It’s like Warren Buffet once said: ‘If you are the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent’,” she said in the address, which is produced in full below.

The Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Andrew Wilson, with President of the Rotary Club of Eastwood- Gladesville, Mark Rosenberg, also presented each participating school with a certificate, acknowledging their commitment to fostering the leadership skills of their students.

Students at the event represented the following participating schools: Denistone East Public School, Dundas Public School, Eastwood Public School, Eastwood Heights Public School, Ermington Public School, Ermington West Public School, Meadowbank Public School, Melrose Park Public School, Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Primary School, Rydalmere East Public School, St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, St Kevin’s Catholic Primary School, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, St Therese’s Catholic Primary School, West Ryde Public School and Yates Avenue Public School.


Ascham Year 7 student Giselle Parras’ address at the Rotary Club of Eastwood-Gladesville’s 6th Annual Primary Schools Leadership Awards on November 8th, 2018 at Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club:

“Good Evening Everyone, my name is Giselle Parras and I am in Year 7 at Ascham School, I hope you are all enjoying the proceedings tonight so far.

“I am honoured to be asked to speak this evening at the primary school leadership awards. I will be talking about how leadership can be used in philanthropic ways.

“I was a KAT member in School Aid for 2 years, KAT, stands for Kids Ambassador Team, I learnt so many great things and gained various skills, but I will talk about that later.

You are all leaders, but that leadership can and should be used in so many other ways that helps the greater community.

– Year 7 Ascham student and SchoolAid Youth Ambassador Giselle Parras

“Using your leadership skills to get the word out about spreading happiness to the world and helping others is a simple and easy thing to do. Being a leader is about encouraging others to follow you, to lead them in the right direction to support and help others less fortunate.

“Being on the Kids Ambassador Team has taught me that although I was a leader for my school, I felt like I needed to show and do the right thing, which is helping others, because no matter how tough you think you’ve got it there is always someone else that is more worse off than you, and they are sitting there waiting for someone like any of you to stand up and make a difference big or small.

“Being a leader is about putting others first, just like Booker T. Washington said, “If you want to lift yourself up, life someone else up.”

“Finding the organisation, you want to support and the causes you care about isn’t easy, there will be challenges, but like hurdles you have to get over them. There is no point in putting in time and effort into something that you’re not passionate for.

“Understanding is the first thing to helping others, but more importantly you must be passionate to do anything in the first place, being passionate is going to get you places and help you achieve goals.

“Time is extremely important when you’re helping others, you have to be physically and mentally available, and willing to put in 100%.

“Helping others isn’t all about donating money, which I think is something people get confused about, because it is also about giving your time and donating your time to help others, whether its cooking for homeless or helping build clean water sources in Africa, time is valuable, and people value it more than you think. Even donating goods and materials can make a difference.

“As Anne Frank once said, “How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”.

“Being a role model, is part of being a leader, along with being a role model, you don’t have to do everything on your own, it’s okay to ask for help and have people to create a team environment so you can help others in different ways using various perspectives.

“When I was on the KAT team, I had people helping me fundraise at school because everyone needs help and working as a team can be much better than doing things alone.

“I managed and encouraged others to help with campaigns, it’s all about asking for help in areas where it is needed.

“Everyone of you is a leader but as a society we need to come together to make the world a better place.

“By using your leadership skills, you can simply encourage others to give, by making donating more appealing, it’s important to focus on how to make giving more appealing to young people and to appreciate the importance of charity at the different stages of life, school, university and work.

“You can make it easier for people to donate to a charity for example through social media.

“When setting up your campaign always make sure you give clear information about the impact the cause makes, because people will want to help if they know what they are supporting and how they are helping.

“Using digital tools, can get your word across, try making a video or even start a fundraiser on the School Aid website, where you can crowd fund and support any charity of your choice.

“Encourage your school friends to volunteer, by volunteering you can see first-hand where your help is needed.

“I volunteered for an organisation called Our Big Kitchen and helped make delicious meals for the less fortunate around the east suburbs, I saw and felt a sense of understanding for what these people are going through.

“It’s like what Warren Buffet once said, “If you are the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%”.

“Helping people is a continuous cycle, it should always be continued, not just in school but when you grow up, use your connections from the outside world, to continue the amazing work you were doing when you were younger.

“Rotary clubs are an international service that are devoted to serving the community and promoting world peace. Getting involved with your local rotary club is a good idea to help the community.

“As I mentioned before I was a part of School Aid for two years, School Aid is a great organisation, and has really changed my view of the world.

“If you go to the School Aid website, the first thing you will see is “empowering young philanthropists”, it is Australia’s first crowd funding platform for young people and is a not for profit organisation.

“They are making it easy for young people to help make our world better. I was over the moon to be a part of School Aid. I had a fantastic journey and gained a lot of life skills. I ask you to do something amazing yourself and be inspired to change.

“I developed as a leader and mentally grew as a person. I gained other skills with School Aid such as team work, confidence and time management. I am so grateful for the skills I have gained from working with this organisation.

“These skills will help me in later in my life, I recommend all of you to do something different and test your skills, you’ll be surprised at what you will find out.

“When people do something for the community, it makes them insistently happy, and gives them empowerment to make a difference.

“Doing good things for people and supporting worthwhile causes, is a feeling like no other, I personally believe there is no other way to get that warm fuzzy feeling inside of you, expect by doing something amazing for people and their community.

“Giving is important to the hearts and minds of young people, people who give are naturally happier.

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak this evening to talk about leadership and using it in philanthropic ways. In the words of the late Martin Luther King Jr.

“Remember that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”