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Student leaders given power to go and make a difference

Fr Rob Galea had them dancing in the aisles at the Powerhouse of Leaders

“WHAT an awesome day!”

The words of one excited and invigorated student leader from Kingaroy who attended this year’s Powerhouse of Leaders at the Brisbane Powerhouse at New Farm.

Bree Thompson from St Mary’s College joined more than 400 student leaders from BCE and Religious Institute schools across Brisbane Archdiocese for the inspirational day of spiritual formation and leadership.

The Powerhouse of Leaders offered the student leaders an opportunity to come together in one place and be inspired by contemporary leaders through music, performances and presentations so they too had the power to go out into the world and make a difference.

Bree said it was amazing to be able to gather with so many like-minded people in one place.

“We all had a great time connecting with each other, swapping stories and ideas,” the Year 12 student said.

She said the activities throughout the day were excellent and the stories she heard from the guest speakers were amazing.

“They talked about things and ideas we can take with us, not only back to our own schools, but wherever we go in life.

“Their messages were truly inspirational,” she said.

The young leaders heard from an impressive line-up of inspiring guest speakers, including Archbishop Mark Coleridge; ACU lecturer Dr Maeve Heaney; Downs syndrome advocate Olivia Hargroder from Southern Cross Catholic College, Scarbrough; Singer Roby Curtis from Emmanuel Worship and Stephanie Santos, a Gold Coast Catholic youth group coordinator.

A highlight for many was the arrival on stage of former X Factor contestant and singing priest Fr Rob Galea.

Fr Rob spoke about his own teenage years and the troubles he found himself in until he called on Jesus, who then helped him turn his life around.

He encouraged his attentive audience to get up of the couch, lace up their shoes and go out and make a difference in the world.

Powerhouse of Leaders MC Jayden Ruska said the day was an incredible experience and one he would never forget.

The Clairvaux MacKillop College, Upper Mt Gravatt, student said he felt inspired by the theme for the day “Power to go”.

He said spending time with the archbishop was an unreal experience.

“He really knows how to connect and inspire young people.

“He ups the vibes in any room as he speaks, you can see it in the faces as they listen to what he has to say.”

Fellow host Laura Major from St John Fisher College, Bracken Ridge, said she enjoyed connecting with other young leaders throughout the day.

She said it was a perfect opportunity for young leaders in Catholic schools to share ideas and ways to improve their own understanding of what leadership meant to them.

“It was great to hear other peoples’ leadership experiences,” she said.

“We were able to network and take time out from our busy school life to reflect and get empowered and encouraged so that we can go out and make the world a better place,” she said.

Members of the Catholic Collective, a group connecting high schoolers and young adults with Catholic Youth initiatives across the Brisbane Archdiocese, helped facilitate the student activities during the day.

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.

He said the music, performances and presentations were of the highest calibre and the organisation and flow of the day were outstanding.

“It was a fantastic day for everybody,” he said.


Bree Thompson from St Mary’s College, Kingaroy; Hunter Scott from
Aquinas College, Ashmore and Olivia Frahm from St Mary’s College,
Kingaroy, make their way into the Powerhouse of Leaders


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