Parramatta High School, Australia
Ashna and Kim began their High Resolves journey in Year 9, where they participated in a two-day peak experience and learned how to collaborate effectively to solve social problems. This included participation in the CO2 game, which helped them develop their skills to inspire others towards a common social purpose.
Through planning and running a High Resolves social action project, Ashna and Kim were able to put the skills they learned into practice. Their project addressed the issue of social exclusion and involved reaching out to community organizations to build connections and inspiring members of their community to take action and create a more inclusive society.
Ashna and Kim’s High Resolves journey culminated with Videos for Change in Year 11, where they created a social advocacy video to raise awareness about domestic violence and its impact on families and society. Ashna and Kim won first prize nationally and were featured on Network TEN’s The Project. Their video was shown to an audience of over 1 million viewers.
“High Resolves does a lot of programs with us to help us understand that to be a leader and to do these things you don’t have to be a stereotypical public speaker or a really outgoing popular person. You can still convey different issues through different platforms, like film or writing.” – Kim
Graduate of James Ruse Agricultural High School
“It's crazy when I think about it that 5 years ago, part of my school's CAP 'Hungry for a Home', I stood in front of an audience at Parramatta High School to raise awareness about youth homelessness. It was the first time I'd delivered a talk about our project and I remember how nervous I was standing there. The school wasn't running HR back then, but I do remember the vice-principal telling me that what we were doing was really moving because they have a homeless unit for some of their students.
Tonight, when I spotted the clip from The Project about the domestic violence project presented by Parramatta High’s High Resolves leaders, it really blew my mind. I was impressed at how purposeful the campaign is, and the video evoked such a powerful feeling and emotion.
Standing in front of 200 people was scary for me, I can only imagine how much courage Ashna and Kim must have had to speak on behalf of the team in front of a television broadcast! I wish to congratulate their success and for High Resolves for providing that opportunity.
I still remember all those great sessions with Lee Martin on the need to be a global citizen, and Sophie for being the awesome facilitator for our project. I can’t thank them enough for how much they’ve impacted the way I see the world and how much inspiration I’ve drawn from my experience in High Resolves. Here’s a postcard I keep stuck by my bedside to remind me of the motto ‘Our World, Our Choice’:
I’m currently pursuing my dream of medicine, studying my Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney. I really want to aspire towards doing more for the world and developing leadership mindsets that humanity needs.
On top of my degree, I have joined an NGO called AIESEC aimed to deliver leadership experiences through exchange, with our projects starting to be linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals all around the world.
I don’t think I would be where I am today without High Resolves giving me the confidence, curiosity, and capabilities to make a difference. Hopefully every single action that I make will be on the right side of history in 50 years of time.“
“High Resolves was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever taken part of. From the beginning I was engulfed and inspired at the idea that I, as an individual, could change the world. It seemed to be the perfect opportunity - an emphasis on the world around us, how it works, what is really going on and how we can change it. I am exceedingly interested in politics and have a passion for global change and equality and social justice. What program could I possibly take part in that would better cater for my current curiosities and fascinations? As a fifteen-year old student at the time, I was naive to the fact that everything I do influences the world around me so greatly. With the commencement of the program I started to take notice in my everyday actions, particularly anything to do with global warming, as that was the main opening topic.
I, in turn, began to realize the great influence that I had on others. It became apparent that when I told my friends at lunch that I had to go to the bin, two or so others would say they had to do the same, leaving our circle abnormally spotless as we would take our remaining friends’ rubbish with us.
Also, when I got off the bus at school in the morning, my saying ‘thank you’ to the driver would provoke all the girls behind me to do the same, each influencing the girl behind her and so forth.
The sudden realization that the entire human race seems to have similar mentalities to that of sheep was something I decided to use to my advantage. High Resolves not only enlightened me about high profile world issues, but evidently also made me aware of my immediate surroundings.
I, to this day, am still convinced that I cannot make a dramatic change to the greater world while I am still locked up at school 5 days a week. But I believe that the most important thing I learnt was that it doesn’t matter if I can’t be superwoman now and save the planet. It doesn’t matter if I can’t help every single starving child in the world.
What matters is that I, unlike many others, know that these problems exist and by starting to make small changes in my immediate environment, I will one day be able to battle those greater issues.
In saying that, I found later that I had severely underestimated my own power and will, for at the end of last year, two girls in my debating team (one of which also participated in High Resolves) and myself had a sudden urge to make a difference.
We decided that we were no longer satisfied with simply slipping money in a donations box, with no real understanding or control over where it went. We wanted to do something exceptional for the global community, something that would change lives, but we knew that that was impossible within the confinements of our current comfort zones.
We went to the principal, asking for her support to go to a third world country to participate in some sort of community aid project. We didn’t know where, when or how, but we wanted to do it, and we were going to do anything to get there. Our principal was extremely enthusiastic and then, like a sign from God, her phone rang that afternoon.
Without any external contact being made as of yet, the chairman of Gullivers Sport and Music Travel called to ask if our school was interested in their Immersion Trip to Cambodia. I leave for Cambodia in 59 days as one of 20 girls at my school now participating in the program.
Included in our trip are trips to a HIV/AIDS orphanage, a school for disabled children and teaching English in remote schools. We are also in the process of raising a combined $10,000 to go towards the building of another school in the remote areas of Cambodia and the school is hoping to continue this program in future years.
It is initiatives like these that I believe High Resolves tries to encourage its participants to be a part of. They encourage us to strive to be more and do more, rather than sit back and let injustices take place in our world.
I hold High Resolves completely responsible for my now ceaseless passion for social justice and increasingly regular urges to be superwoman and save the planet. But with this commonly infuriating desire to change the world, I have also proven that the High Resolves program truly does make a difference.
Often, I am ignorant of the profound effect it has had on me, but that is the true beauty of it; that suddenly children like me are able to make a difference, even when we don’t know we’re doing it.”