Driving positive change

Driving positive change

The inaugural Australian Olympic Change-Maker Virtual Summit held in September connected students and schools around Australia together in one major event.

Hosted by Olympic Champion, Brooke Hanson OAM, the Summit celebrated each young leader nominated for this year’s Award and featured Olympians discussing leadership, being a positive force and overcoming challenges in creating change.

The Australian Olympic Change-Maker program recognises and rewards students who are demonstrating the Olympic spirit through leadership and driving positive change in their communities. 

Smithton High School students Taya Schuuring and Will Johnston were nominated by teachers Zac Barber and Claire Wade and were both quite surprised.

“I was shocked,” Will said.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Taya said.

Taya is a member of the Inpulse Dance Studio in Smithton. 

She participates in her own dance training six classes a week, and since 2019 has also coached three junior classes in Ballet, Funk and Acrobatics. 

Taya is passionate about working with young people and balances her time successfully with her school commitments and leadership positions. 

These include being a member of the school Student Executive Council, and a House Captain. Her motivation and commitment is a positive example for her peers and dance students.

Will Johnston is a member of the Circular Head Boxing Club which was initiated in 2019 and is the first official boxing club in Circular Head. 

Since joining last year he has been training regularly, preparing for his next competition. 

Will also assists with the running of the boxing program at school. 

The program runs with the purpose of giving disengaged students an outlet and alternative program to afternoon classes. 

Will volunteers his time to create a program and run these sessions twice a week. 

Will’s leadership qualities have assisted in making this program positive and functional. 

Entries are open to all Australian high schools, and teachers were invited to nominate up to two students from years 10-12 who demonstrate the Olympic Spirit. 

This is a chance for students to be recognised for their fantastic work in leading teams, coaching juniors, supporting seniors, making a difference at a sports club, a national cause or effecting change on the world stage.

In order to be considered, students had to submit a one-minute video which actively demonstrated how they are displaying leadership through sport in their school or local community, and / or using sport as a vehicle to improve health and wellbeing and drive social change in their school or local        community. 

Will Johnston and Taya Schurring were surprised with nominations from their teachers at Smithton High School for the Olympic Change-Maker program. 


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