2014 Big Picture: Another Successful Program

Tuesday 16 September, 2014

Warrane College’s 2014 Big Picture Program for senior high school students was its most successful ever with 45 participants from coming from New South Wales, Queensland, the ACT and (for the first time ever) from New Zealand to take part in the program.

One of the big drawcards of this year’s Program was the Keynote Speaker, former NSW Premier and former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Bob Carr.

Mr Carr spoke to the young men who took part of the need for young people to accentuate the positive and to think carefully about the decisions they take. He pointed out that eventually they would have to accept responsibility for those decisions.

The Big Picture Program was initiated by Warrane to help students in Years 10 and 11 to make the transition into the world of professional work and tertiary education with a better idea of where they are heading in their professional and personal lives.

One organiser and mentor, Sydney solicitor Mr Louie Peter Supan, said the Program helped to empower students “with the knowledge, skills and character they need to understand what it means and what it takes to build successful careers and fulfilling dreams”.

“The program is also an opportunity for the boys to live on campus and to feel and value the atmosphere of College life,” he said.

The Big Picture Program began with a five-day residential conference at Warrane on the campus of the University of NSW during the July school holidays, and then continued over the next few months with a series of afternoon seminars on one Saturday afternoon each month.

One highlight was the professional mentoring session at which 12 successful professionals  spoke to the participants in small groups about the steps necessary to enter their profession and to be successful in it.  

Program Director Mr Joaquin Reyes described it as ”a crash course designed to prepare high achieving school students for life after high school, and equip them with the skills and ideals to become society’s future leaders”.

“Participants were given the opportunity to engage with some of Australia’s top professionals from a wide range of fields,” he said. “The diversity of professional areas ranged from a visit to the Supreme Court, to a session with UNSW’s record breaking solar car.”

Mr Reyes said that, unlike a careers fair or university open day, the Program had a practical focus on instilling in participants the skills and habits of successful people. Talks and workshops covered many virtues including self-mastery, industriousness, humility and etiquette.

“One-on-one mentoring sessions are a key part of the Program,” he said, “providing students with tailored guidance on goal setting to incorporate lessons learnt into their own lives.”

Many of the students who took part said the Program went beyond their expectations.

Michael Gonzaga, a Year-10 student at Wollemi College in Werrington in Sydney’s west, said before the Program he thought he had his future career plans “all set”.

“One thing the Program did for me was to completely shatter all my ambitions because everything they said and showed us looked so interesting,” he said. “I had the privilege of meeting some inspirational professionals who were all in love with what they did, to the point where it didn't seem like a job for them.

“I hope to one day reach the same level of passion, ambition and drive as these men, and carry on the values taught within the seminars.”

Darren Jadraque, a Year-10 student at Penrith Selective High School, said he particularly appreciated the study tips, character building and etiquette talks. He said the “down-to-earth talks” by the university volunteers and guest speakers had given him many basic things to think about.  

One thing he took away from the Program was to “positively change myself by working harder and building character through everyday little things such as making your bed every morning and being ‘your very best in your darkest moments’.”

Harry Callen, a Year-10 student at Merewether High School in Newcastle said he expected the Program would reinforce what he already knew about his life direction and career, but instead it changed his perspective. “It  opened me up to the millions of possibilities accessible to me,” he said.

Joshua Wiemer, who is in Year 10 at Redfield College, Dural, was impressed by the trips to universities which he found “enlightening”.

“And meeting current college students really allowed us participants to feel a connection, and relate with what we were experiencing,” he said. “Meeting new people also helped us learn new skills.”

Enquiries are already being taken for the 2015 Big Picture Program.

2014 Participants

Samuel Chatwin -Merewether High School
Michael Gonzaga - Wollemi College
Nikola Medak - Redfield College
Henry Bennett - The Riverina Anglican College
Sosefo Devine - Wollemi College
Sean-Paul Kos - Redfield College
Zachary Nickel - Merewether High School
Maurice Bechelli - Merewether High School
Tinik Chiu - Normanhurst Boys HS
Darren Jadraque - Penrith High School
Joshua Wiemer - Redfield College
Jethro Yuen - Normanhurst Boys HS
John Anderson - Parramatta Marist High School
Harrison Callen - Merewether High School
Michael Choi - Redfield College
Gilbert Johnston - The King's School
Jack O'Brien - Wollemi College
Daniel Swan - Wavell State High School
Brandon Delos Reyes - Wollemi College
Petar Krizanovic - Wollemi College
Simeon Moore - The Riverina Anglican College
Benjamin Rossi - Redfield College
Aymon Wuolanne - Merewether High School
John Cawood - Macquarie Grammar School
Timothy Cheung - Epping Boys High School
Charles Drewett - Chevalier College
Ed Huxley - Barker College
Samuel Vella - Penrith High School
Mohammad Vohra - Gosford High School
Jack James - Chevalier College
Mitchell MacMahon - St Aloysius College
Matthew Sampson - Nowra Anglican College
Kal Slater - Gungahlin College
Jeremy Blades - Wollemi College
Hugo Roach - Barker College
Jacob Sgouros - Chevalier College
Henry Bowyer - Gungahlin College
Mark Pirotta - Wollemi College
Matthew Spiller - Mt St Patrick College, Murwillumbah
William Eustace - Chevalier College
Daniel Hockey - Nowra Anglican College
Dominic Mortimer - The Illawarra Grammar School
Stephen Quinn - Redfield College
Matthew Sopers - St John's College, NZ
Saagar Pancholi - Merewether High School

 

2014 Mentors

Sean Whitham
Karl San Pedro
Neal Chowdry
Harry Hales
Charitha Katupitiya
Miguel Vera Cruz
Liam Warburton
Joaquin Reyes
Joe Hoare
Casper Chia
Peter Bradshaw
Ananthan Ambikairajah
Blaise  Joseph
Louie Supan
Mikey Zambrano
Matthieu LaBlanche
Tim Shearer
Tom Horspool
Max Irish
Elwyn Stannard
Junya Eguchi

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