Tasmanian students lead the way

AN innovative new leadership development program is seeing a number of Tasmanian students reach for the stars.

Running throughout 2017, the Young Leaders of Tasmania (YLOT) Future Leaders Program saw year six to year 12 students from various Tasmanian schools work alongside students from the state’s largest special needs education facility, Southern Support School.

The participants worked together in a number of core activities that saw them build relationships, set goals, evaluate and reflect on leadership and share their experiences.

YLOT spokesperson Keren Franks said the Australian-first program was a “wonderful achievement.”

“Tasmania is leading the charge yet again,” she said.

“Our state’s students have proven they can mix it with the best and we are very proud of this program and its very positive impact.”

Students, teachers and families converged at Rosny Barn in December for a special graduation event to celebrate their achievements throughout the year.

The event was held with support from Clarence City Council and a Tasmanian Government grant.

In attendance at the event was Liberal Member for Franklin Jacquie Petrusma, who awarded the initiative a grant for the launch of the 2018 program.

Ms Petrusma said the YLOT program gave students the opportunity to push themselves further.

“The Tasmanian Government is pleased to provide this grant to help celebrate the successful pilot year, while also supporting our up and coming future leaders,” she said.

“The pilot operated in 2017 with students from mainstream schools visiting Southern Support School and developing their leadership skills through a practical program encouraging personal growth.

“Community groups such as YLOT are vital to nurturing and mentoring students to help them reach their full potential.

“Congratulations to Keren Franks and her team, as well as the schools, students, parents and teachers who have all been involved in this new innovative program.”

Ms Franks said the idea for YLOT stemmed from the experiences of her daughter Isabella Franks, who lives with a severe disability.

“Isabella was found to positively influence the personal growth and leadership qualities of fellow students and those around her,” she said.

“It was through this positive influence on the lives of others that the discussion started about forming a community organisation to encourage involvement, leadership and inclusion in our schools.

“It is great the Government helped make this graduation event a success, so all participants involved in the 2017 pilot program could be rewarded for all their hard work.

“We are excited about the future and look forward to supporting our young fellow Tasmanians to be the very best they can be.”

Caption: Local Member for Franklin Jacquie Petrusma, middle, with Bellerive Primary School principal Steven Hay and Young Leaders of Tasmania organiser Keren Franks.