Catholic Education South Australia
Teen Parliament Group. Photo credit: Keryn Stevens
18 Mar 2024
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Catholic School students shine in Teen Parliament

On Friday March 8, nine students from five Catholic schools were given the opportunity to present their big ideas on how to improve South Australia, at The Advertiser’s Teen Parliament. The event was held in the House of Assembly at state parliament with politicians and change-makers listening to the 31 Year 10 - Year 12 students speak.    

Of the nine Catholic school students who attended, three have each been awarded a $10,000 scholarship to help them develop their idea. The three recipients of the scholarships were Alex Johnson from Sacred Heart College, Max Mander from St Ignatius College and Brendan Talbot from St Michael’s College.  

The three students attended the Future SA event at SkyCity, Adelaide on Friday March 15, where they were presented with their awards and scholarships by South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas and in attendance of Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. 

Earlier this year students from Year 10 – Year 12 were invited to submit their ideas, to The  Advertiser newspaper, on a range of topics including state development, the economy, the  environment health, education and social issues.  31 students were then selected to present their ideas at state parliament, with 10 being selected for a $10,000 scholarship from The  Advertiser Foundation.  

Alex Johnson, Sacred Heart College wants South Australia to rival other states with world class theme parks to drive tourism: 

“I believe investing in theme parks to boost South Australia’s economy presents a multifaceted opportunity to stimulate growth, enhance tourism, and create a dynamic entertainment landscape. Imagine a famous theme park in Adelaide!” 

Max Mander, Saint Ignatius College believes that mandatory defensive driving training is urgently needed to lower the road toll among young motorists: 

“For every 10,000 young drivers (aged 16-19) in South Australia, 16 of them die in car-related accidents. 16 deaths are 16 too many. These statistics suggest that a change in the way we teach young adults to drive is urgent.” 

Brendan Talbot, St Michael’s College, an avid outdoorsman, understands the mental and physical health benefits of fishing and proposed an initiative called YOUthFISH where young people are invited, via social media, to a different meeting spot each month to learn how to fish.  

“Fishing is proven to improve physical and mental health, as well as proving positive social connections. The online platform will have hints and tips, as well as highlight the benefits of  fishing.” 

The other six students who presented their ideas at the Teen Parliament 2024 were:  

  • Grace Leonello, Thomas More College who presented an idea to implement a teacher feedback system to encourage continuous improvement in South Australian education.  
  • Archie Haywood, Sacred Heart College who wants to increase media access in South Australian court rooms in order to uphold the principles of justice.  
  • Maeve Nicholas, St Michael’s College who believes South Australian beaches could be made safer with aerial patrol data.  
  • Amelia Boulden, Loreto College who spoke about closing the gender pay gap in South Australia by implementing a mandatory employer gender-neutral job evaluation.  
  • Aidan Sbattella, St Michael’s College who wants South Australia to be better connected via rail, with a focus on the southern suburbs, to complement growth in the region.  
  • Sarcha Taylor, Sacred Heart College who wants education policy to reflect Indigenous ways of learning.  

The full recording from Teen Parliament can be watched here:   

The students quotes are attributed to a news story from The Advertiser (access may be restricted to subscribers only). 

Main group photo credit: Keryn Stevens

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