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Powerhouse inspires new vision for student leaders

Senior students wrote down how they led with mercy at the annual
Powerhouse of Leaders

LAUGHTER, joy and a few tears filled the Brisbane Powerhouse in New Farm when more than 400 student leaders came together for an inspirational day of spiritual formation and leadership.

The student leaders from BCE and Religious Institute schools across Brisbane Archdiocese gathered to hear an impressive line-up of inspiring guest speakers encourage them to go out and have a Heart for Mercy, the theme for this year’s gathering.

Now in its seventh year, Powerhouse of Leaders offers student leaders an opportunity to come together in one place and be inspired by contemporary leaders so they too can go out into the world and make a difference.

Guest speakers included musician and composer and ACU lecturer Dr Maeve Heaney; Robyn Moore, the voice of children's fictional character Blinky Bill and many other inspirational characters, and former X Factor contestant and singing priest Fr Rob Galea.

Although he could not be with the students on the day, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, a keen supporter of the Powerhouse of Leaders, did have a video message for those gathered.

Donning a pair of cool, white “sunnies”, he implored the senior leaders to – in the words of St Mary MacKillop – “never see a need without doing something about it” click here.

In the video, shot in the Pugin Chapel beside St Stephen’s Cathedral, the archbishop also introduced the senior student leaders to the Catholic Collective, a new group connecting high schoolers and young adults with Catholic Youth initiatives across the Brisbane Archdiocese.

These inspiring leaders then facilitated the student activities during the day.

St Peter Claver College Captain Imtithal Hassaballa, who appeared on stage with Dr Heaney, said the whole day was a great experience.

“It was so much fun and I had so much positive feedback from everybody.

“I think it was really helpful for everyone here to have someone their own age talking about Mercy, someone they can relate to.”

She said she left the gathering feeling inspired to take action in her life and make it the life she wanted it to be.

“They (guest speakers) gave me hope,” she said.

Powerhouse of Leaders MC Josh Francillon said it was an incredible experience and one he would never forget.

The St Francis College, Crestmead, student said he had truly learnt the meaning of Mercy.

“I really enjoyed myself, listening to the speakers, taking in a lot of what they were talking about.

“Learning to persevere, to life-long learning, to learning to stand on my own two feet, having a voice, finding your bliss, all great leadership qualities.

“I wouldn’t replace it for the world,” he said. 

BCE Deputy Executive Director Dr Doug Ashleigh, who welcomed participants to the Powerhouse of Leaders, said he felt energised by what he witnessed during the day-long event.

“As this was my first Powerhouse experience I was a little unsure what to expect,” he said.

He spoke to his nephew, who had attended a previous Powerhouse gathering as a student leader from Villanova College, Coorparoo, who gave it an A+ tick.

Dr Ashleigh said his expectations were truly surpassed.

“What a great day.

“The music, performances and presentations were of the highest calibre and the organisation and flow of the day were outstanding,” he said.

BCE Executive Director Pam Betts said the whole day was again a fantastic experience for all involved.

Ms Betts said the student leaders left with a Heart for Mercy and practical ways to bring the knowledge of Jesus into their future mission and society.

She thanked the organisers and the volunteers who assisted in ensuring the day ran smoothly click here.


Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101