BRIGHT FUTURES: Burnett College students’ inspiring stories
THE year 2020 has impacted students greatly across Australia, with a sense of uncertainty marring the last few terms.
Prior to coronavirus, students in the North Burnett had been excelling in different fields inside, and outside school.
The pandemic has put a stop to several competitions, but hasn't dampened their resolve, or hard working attitudes.
Whether it is academics, sport, music, or agriculture, the Central and North Burnett Times wanted to highlight the stellar job students had been doing throughout their schooling years.
We'll be running this segment Bright Futures with schools across the region, starting with Burnett State College (BSC) in Gayndah.
BSC principal Theo Bellas said the teaching staff were extremely proud of all of their students, and the perseverance they showed in their fields.
"The whole philosophy of education is to try and give kids exposure to as many disciplines as possible," he said.
"We're lucky here in Gayndah and the North Burnett where kids can experience different activities.
"Kids can do well academically, with interests inside and outside school.
"Some of them are doing incredibly well, and we're very proud of them."
Ryan has proven himself as a forced to be reckoned with on the rugby field, achieving numerous selections in representative teams in rugby league.
"I've been playing since I was 10, where I played through Gayndah and then to Bundaberg," he said.
"I made the Wide Bay U16s school side, and then got selected for Capras."
Ryan was selected for the Rockhampton Capras squad to play in the Mal Meninga U18s competition in the second row.
Ryan was however sidelined due to a recurring shoulder injury requiring surgery.
Ryan's mum Nicole Gibbs said he's been working on a few goals over the last few years, with his injury only being a small "hurdle" in his footy career.
"It's just one of those things with sport, you have injuries, but it's just a hurdle you have to get over," she said.
"It builds resilience as an obstacle you have to surpass, where we have to reset our plan and make a new one."
After year 12, Mrs Gibbs said her son will be looking for an electrical apprenticeship, but believes sport will still be an aspect of his life.
"It's a balance between enjoying your sport, but still having that dedication and consistency to work hard, and achieve your goals," she said.
Bridie Worland has been excelling her studies since she began at BSC, smashing her report card in the last five terms with straight A's.
"I like reading and writing, and I took part in the Readers Cup, where our school came 6th in Wide Bay," she said.
The year 9 student's love for reading and writing shined during the competition, which involved students reading a series of books, and answering a comprehensive amount of questions for it.
Bridie's mum Emma Robinson said her daughter is a "superstar" with an amazing work ethic.
"I have never ever once told her to do anything and she's very self motivated," she said.
"She's always been very independent, even in things outside of schools she pulls her weight."
Year 9 student Levi Bryant student has a love for music being a multi instrumentalist.
He takes part in the instrumental music program, playing bass, guitar, piano and drums, but confesses guitar and bass are his main instruments.
Levi has played for the school on numerous occasions, playing rock tunes such as 'Smoke on the water' by Deep Purple.
"I love water sports too, like water skiing, wake boarding, I do those leisurely," he said.
Levi's mum Jen says Levi puts his heart and hand into everything he does, always giving 100 per cent.
"He loves working with his hands, as he's a practical kid," she said.
"Whatever he puts his hand to, he'll do it with excellence.
"I feel very lucky to be his music teacher."
Claire's keen interest in agriculture is evident in the three certificates she has been completing during her senior year.
The year 12 school captain is currently completing a certificate two in agriculture, certificate three in rural operations, and a certificate three in horsemanship.
Growing up on the land her whole life has sparked a love for farm life, with Claire regularly helping to run cattle on the property.
"I've grown up with it my whole life, and I don't have to deal with people as much, and I love animals," she said.
Karen Mendoza, Claire's mum, said growing up on the land has meant she has been involved with horses her whole life.
"She's gone off on her own bat and trained a few horses of her own, and loves the cattle, so she's put the two together," she said.
"We're encouraging her after to school to experience different farms, and work on different cattle stations around Australia."
Sophie's sporting ability led to a once in a lifetime opportunity last year, where she was selected to be part of the West Ham United touring squad of the UK.
She spent two weeks in November and December 2019 as part of a girls team travelling with three school aged boys teams from Australia and New Zealand.
Sophie said she was selected from a training camp two years ago in Bundaberg, with the girls team winning two games, and losing two while on the road.
"I also made the Wide Bay volleyball team, and was selected for Wide Bay soccer, but that was cancelled due to corona," she said.
The year 12 student is part of the United Park Eagles soccer team in Bundaberg, which went undefeated last season, winning their grand final.
It doesn't stop there, with the BSC student excelling in athletics at a state level.
Her mother Nancy Zipf said Sophie just loves her sport, and the people she gets to play with weekly.
"She definitely just wants to be involved, and has always been keen to play," she said.
"It's been a big part of her life and she has a passion for it, so I hope she continue on with her sport after school."
Multi-instrumentalist Jenny Roach has a passion for everything music, playing five instruments including the piano, guitar, saxophone, cello, and percussion.
Learning when she was little, she moved from Vietnam to Australia in 2014 and pursued an interest in music.
The year 12 student was originally in a band in Mundubbera before moving to Gayndah.
"I learnt music because it was cool and relaxing, that's why I like playing it now," she said.
Jenny's dad David Roach she had limited access to instrument while in Vietnam, and taught herself how to read and play certain instruments.
"She really wants to concentrate on her academic studies, but she does have an ear for music, and practices all the time," he said.
"She really wants to get into architectural engineering, and that's her desire, so it'll be university next year."
Emma Breitkopf's diligent interest in speech pathology has already kicked off this year, with the year 12 student beginning her tertiary studies while in school.
She plans on completing as many university credits as she can at BSC, already starting her introduction to speech pathology and psychology university course.
At the end of this year she plans on applying the Central Queensland University, already passing her first subjects two weeks ago.
"I do these on top of my five other school subjects, as I want to be a speech pathologist when I'm older," she said.
Emma's mum Sherrie said it's excellent her daughter has a plan that she's sticking to, and believed she'll do wonderful things.
"We have a family member who has been affected, and the difficulties they've experienced has inspired Emma to pursue that field," she said.
"The school have encouraged the kids to look into programs such as this, and supported her the whole way.
"We're exceptionally proud, she's an amazing girl."
Coronavirus has sadly impacted on what would've been a special moment for Sophie Shadford, where she was going to attend Canberra to discuss indigenous rights.
Sophie was chosen as a delegate for the annual National Schools Constitution Convention last year in a convention between 32 southeast Queensland schools.
She claimed the position after 128 students voted for who they thought would be the best delegates from the convention.
The date was slated for earlier this year, however was postponed due to the pandemic.
This schedule change has meant Sophie won't be able to attend due to a family commitment.
"I won't be near any internet when its meant to take place, which is a shame because if it was the day before I could've attended," she said.
Sophie excels outside of school as well, being nominated for trainee of the year for her work at the Golden Orange Hotel Motel during her certificate three in business.
Her mum Liz Shadford said she's proud of her daughter's mammoth national achievement.
"She works very hard with everything she does," she said
"She's always tried her best, and that's all we've asked her to do.
"We're very proud."
BSC horse riding dynamo Zoe Hoskinson has been excelling in dressage and show jumping competitions, regularly travelling for competitions.
She confessed she's been horse riding since she was 3, and is now training a new horse for the state championships in Toowoomba in September.
Zoe came third in last year's state championships in the U12's age group, where she'll be competing again this year.
"It's something I have so much fun with, and it's so rewarding when you get something right," she said.
"Then getting a ribbon for it is even better."
Zoe's mum Angie said her daughter had always been self motivated with her horses, caring for them and riding them each day.
Even though there will be some tough competition in September, Mrs Hoskinson's only hope is that her daughter gives it her best.
"That's all I ever hope for, and as long as she's happy with her and her horse's performance, then I'm happy as well," she said.
Gayndah has a potential astrophysicist in its midst, with year 12 student Channah Lederhose having a keen eye for everything physics.
She attended the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) camp in 2019, as well as other scholarship camps.
Channah now has her choice of a scholarship at QUT next year.
"There's been a few opportunities for this because I'm from a rural background," she said.
"I like it out here as well because you can actually see the stars since there aren't any city lights."
Her love of music and art is also important to her, winning the Gayndah RSL's 100 year centenary art competition last year.
Channah's mum Sue said her daughters love for everything science shows she has enormous potential.
"She's loved all of that, and especially with her art as well, where she created a completed a working size drum set," she said.