BRIGHT FUTURES: 11 inspiring Nanango State High students
IT HAS been a difficult year for students nationwide, but Nanango State High School are still giving it their all.
Whether it be in the classroom, workshop, sports fields, or just supporting others wherever they go, here are 11 of Nanango's most inspiring students.
Sarah Dreier, Jean-Luc Barnett, Arabella-Ann Davis, and Maye Douglass are currently working on a project set by the Queensland Virtual STEM Academy (QVSA), designed to improve access to medicinal grade maggots in third world countries.
They have created a habitat out of easily accessible and renewable materials, which would be readily available in countries with limited resources.
As budding biologist, year 9 student, Sarah, has been enjoying every minute of the wriggly project.
"I'm basically just monitoring all of the maggot activity. Two of us each go every day at lunchtime and just check up on everything. We weigh all the food, make sure that they're eating the right amount and check how active they are," Sarah said.
Sarah has been one of the schools best and brightest since first entering the high school, winning the STEM and Indonesian subject awards in year 7.
Looking to her older friends, she believes an inspirational student is someone who seeks to show others what they can do be setting a good example.
"I feel like it's just to be the best you can be and show other students what they can achieve as well as," she said.
In addition to a clear interest in science, Jean-Luc, year 9, is a bit of a creative. When he is not breeding maggots, he enjoys woodwork and metal work, as well as general art - anything which allows him to bring his designs to life.
"At the moment, I'm making a garden ornament - a dragonfly. That is in DET - design engineering and technology."
Jean-Luc also rides on the junior Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) team. Last year he even competed in the RACQ Tech Challenge, which is an annual 24 hour race held at Maryborough.
"You set up your pits on Friday, and then start the 24 hour race on Saturday at 12am," Jean-Luc said. "Us juniors, we came fourth our first year at Maryborough, which is pretty good."
Being involved in a couple of First Nations courses, Arabella represented her school in a statewide public speaking competition last year. Having made it through to the state finals, she travelled to the University of Queensland in Brisbane to present a 5 minute speech, which she both wrote and memorised.
Arabella has recently submitted her speech for this years event via video, due to COVID restrictions.
"The (theme) I chose was 'always was always will be', which is that the Federation date for Australia isn't actually the beginning of Australia's history because our First Nations people lived thousands of years before that," she said.
"I was arguing that Australia isn't actually a young country."
A straight-A student, Arabella's favourite subject is English because there are 'no wrong answers'.
"I've always liked writing, and with English you can just let your imagination go."
To be an inspiring student, Arabella believes it is important to 'show people that if you put your mind to something, and if you try your hardest, then you can achieve it.'
Maye, year 9, is a naturally mathematician, who aspires toward a career in engineering or architecture.
"With architecture, I like the maths and physics part, and also that you can be creative with it. What you draw or what you plan out, you can see it come to life," she said.
"I feel like it's a lot easier to learn how to do a formula than it is to do creative writing."
That said, when tasked to write a 1000 word creative story last year, which the whole grade took part in, Maye took out the number one spot.
"Mine was about like a science experiment gone wrong. The main character made this creature and it escaped from the lab," she said.
Maye believes you can inspire other students by 'showing them their own potential and striving to be the best that you can be."
Ethan, year 9, excels at the schools more hands-on subjects. As part of the Human Powered Vehicle teams pit crew, working hard to fix and maintain the trikes, Ethan found his passion in the manual arts.
He was actually introduced to manual arts through Nanango State High School and was immediately drawn to it. Aspiring to be a boilermaker, Ethan loves welding and is currently refitting bike racks for the school.
He is also involved in making the schools first student-made human powered vehicle.
When asked what it means to be an inspiring student, Ethan said 'I'm glad I am. And I hopefully as I get older, I become a better role model for younger students.'
Matthew, year 11, is one of Nanango State High School's emerging sport stars, dedicating a great deal of time to practising cricket, rugby league and touch football. At the start of the year, he even represented Wide Bay in the open's category, taking home the state title in Bundaberg.
Matthew also rides on the senior HPV team, who took out first place in last years event at Toowoomba.
When he's not on the field, Matthew enjoys engineering and hopes to be a boilermaker in the future. He is one of the students that has been asked to build an animal sculpture out of recycled metal to decorate the school grounds, responding with an awesome sausage dog that is nearing completion.
"There's a big spring as the body and then spanners as the legs. It has bolts for the eyes and then some metal for the ears, which I've folded down," Matthew said.
Wilson is in his final year of school and a bit of a jack of all trades.
Wilson has just finished making an owl out of recycled metal, which he completed in his Makers and Maintenance and Engineering lessons.
"The body was made out of an old shovel and all of the components were just off cuts and recycling bits. Nothing that I cut was new material," said Wilson.
"I have a signature to do and then it's completed and ready to go up. It's good to put your name to something and have it up around the school."
In addition to engineering, Wilson also has a knack for acting, and has scored the leading role in the Year 12 play.
This year's performance will bring The Tempest by William Shakespeare to life, and Wilson will be playing Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan. For this role, he has had to memorise a massive 80 lines.
Susan, year 9, along with classmate Lana, handed in her QVSA project last week.
The project, which was presented on Wednesday, addresses the plastic problem and aims to encourage people to find more environmentally friendly alternatives. The girls tackled this issue with an idea for an app.
"We had to come up with a solution to help with the plastic problem and we came up with an app, which would show alternatives to plastic for adolescents," Susan said.
The idea is that if you want to replace a plastic product with something renewable, you can visit the app and it will provide you with a list of more environmentally friendly options.
Susan loves maths but is also creative, which will guide her toward a promising career in interior design. She hopes that through interior design she will be able to both challenge and express herself, and see her ideas come to life.
Susan looks up to her parents as role models and believes an inspiring student should 'inspires other people by setting an example and being the best that you can be'.
Over the past 10 weeks, Lana, year 9, has been working hard on the QVSA project she and Susan were assigned to.
According to Lana, the girls began the project with an idea for a debate, with each one having to argue in favour of either biomaterials or non-renewables - a method to kickstart the project and weed out the pros and cons of each.
"What we had to do was compare, and basically debate, which one was the more effective choice. And biomaterials nearly every time," Lana said.
"It was about comparing the two to see what one was the better idea, and to help us think about it from a different perspective."
A natural problem solver, Lana's favourite subject is math.
"I just enjoy mucking around with numbers. Looking at things from different perspectives with different units," she said.
With a wisdom beyond her years, Lana said she looks up to her friends, since she has made an active choice to surround herself with people worth admiring.
"I look up to mostly my friends, because I've placed myself around good people throughout the entirety of high school," she said.
To be an inspiring student, she believes in being a role model to your peers and helping others if and when they face problems.
Despite being in her final year of school, Chloe goes out of her way to support younger students and form connections between the different grades.
"I've done a lot of work building bridges between different grades, like senior and junior, and setting role models through our peer skills," Chloe said.
"It's gives the younger students someone reliable, someone that they know they can talk to, if they ever need anything."
As the schools vice-captain, Chloe believes in putting up her hand for every opportunity that comes her way, since 'you never know where it will lead you'.
With her eye on Griffith University, Chloe is considering medicine as a potential career after she leaves school.
When it comes to inspiring younger students, Chloe believes the seniors all have a role to play.
"Every inspiring student is different, every student will relate to someone differently," she said. "So, giving them that variety to see how everything could turn out, all the different ways high school can go for you, and always be there as a support."
Chloe admires her mother for being courageous enough to start her nursing career later in life, at the same time as caring for four children.
"She didn't quite know what she wanted to do when she left high school, and then managed to study nursing with the four of us," she said.
"She's now a registered nurse over in Kingaroy, so no matter what you do at the start, there's always a path you can take later in life."
In his final year of school, James has been juggling schoolwork with his acceptance into the Under 18 Brisbane Lions Academy.
Having only started his AFL career five years ago, James rose in the ranks at lightening speed.
"I was a league boy from Nanango. I just went to trials South Burnett, then made Wide Bay, made Queensland, and then into Lions and I've been there ever since," he said.
As well as sport, James' loves to get creative, with his favourite subject at school being engineering.
"I just finished making a loading trolley, and now I'm up to making a BBQ pit," he said.
"You can either do a standard project that the teachers give you, or you can design your own. So, I'm in the middle designing my own and making the BBQ pit for home."
James believes an inspiring student should be proactive in helping others, and does so as an Auskick coach for younger kids.
"You go from seeing the little kids pick up a ball for the first time to playing a good brand of footy, and it's humbling knowing that you've helped them. That you can steer kids in a good direction."