LIFTED Leaders

St Agnes Catholic High Rooty Hill School captains Anish Khadka and Annabelle Kayrouz at LIFTED leaders.
School captains Anish Khadka and Annabelle Kayrouz.

Over 100 Year 12 student leaders across all Diocesan Schools gathered at this years annual LIFTED Leaders to gain input and receive inspiration from Bishop Vincent, CEDP leadership and CYP (Catholic Youth Parramatta), and the new Executive Director, Mr Jack de Groot.

This program acts as a precursor to the Breakfast with the Bishop - Student Leader Forum that takes place in Term 2. This LIFTED event connects young people from across the Diocese, with similar leadership responsibilities and provides an opportunity for formation and group sharing and their team goals and strategies for their school.

St Agnes sent 5 Year 12 leaders, the School captains Annabelle Kayrouz and Anish Khadka, and our Senior SRC Presidents, Favor Gueh and Heleanna Soriano, and Diversity leader Akon Angara. See below some of their key takeaways from their leader's event:

On 23rd February, the School Leaders, SRC, and Cultural Diversity got the opportunity to join other schools from the Diocese at West HQ to share our ideas and plans as Leaders for the school in 2023. We got to sit with other schools and make new friendships and share ideas.

Talking to leaders from other schools made me realise how lucky our school is compared to other schools. Some schools get flooded every time it rains and have to shut down for days. After talking to our new friends, there were lots of activities set out for the day which included: sharing their ideas in under one minute in front of everyone and hearing from the new Executive of the Diocese and Bishop Vincent.

Everyone enjoyed a live concert from Gen Bryant who was from Melbourne. Lunch was also provided which consisted of delicious Butter Chicken, rice, pasta, and nice chocolate cakes. Overall, it was a great opportunity for us to hear from other leaders and get new ideas.

- Anish Khadka

The LIFTED Leaders event, held by the Catholic Youth of Parramatta occurred on 23rd February, and was attended by our school’s Year 12 leaders; the School Captains, SRC Presidents, and Cultural Diversity Leader.

The event consisted of activities to get to know other leaders from schools within the Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese but also featured musical performances from the LIFTED Band, and talks from Bishop Vincent and Mr Jack de Groot, the Executive Director of the Diocese.

The day proved to be an invaluable experience for all of our leaders. Alongside our SRC Presidents, I was able to interact with leaders from Penola College and Gilroy College. As we discussed our initiatives and plans for our own schools, we were able to recognise similarities in our goals, aims, and ideas to leave a lasting impression and impact on our communities.

LIFTED Leaders gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own personal journey as a Cultural Diversity Leader, not solely on insights for projects I plan to embark on, but how my faith and spirituality have had a monumental influence on my own motivations as a leader.

Bishop Vincent’s emphasis on leading from the heart stood out to me, causing me to contemplate how my own plans for leadership will further improve our community.

Overall, it was an extraordinary day that allowed us to collaborate with other leaders and encouraged us to observe how we as St Agnes leaders can empower our own community.

- Akon Angara

Attending the LIFTED Leaders, alongside Annabelle, Anish, Favor, and Akon was an amazing opportunity that all of us were able to take something we could learn from. At the beginning of the event, we were allocated to different tables, at which we met leaders from other schools in the Parramatta Diocese.

At first, it was difficult to start a conversation with the other students. However, as we began progressing through the activities, we were able to get an insight into other students’ way of leadership and their school community.

In particular, there was an activity where each school nominated one of their peers to give a one-minute presentation about the initiatives that have been implemented in their school. It was really inspiring to hear about the various initiatives that have been made by other schools to really improve the inclusiveness of their community. Another activity I really enjoyed in the LIFTED Leaders was when all of us were given the chance to write a question we would want to ask Bishop Vincent.

This allowed us to hear more about Bishop Vincent’s story and specifically what influenced him to become a bishop today! We ate excellent food and even had a mini concert that everyone came together and danced! It was all thanks to the fantastic musicians and singers!

Lastly, we completed a silent reflection that personally made me feel emotional. We wrote a prayer that included our hopes and our goals for anything, from our school community and leadership path to personal matters, such as our family and friends.

All of our prayers were collected and placed in a box, to which we then had to get a prayer written by someone else. The prayer that I got was written by someone that hoped that they would make such a huge difference in their school community, and I hope that I would do the same to our school community!

- Heleana Soriano