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By Casey Neill

Endeavour Hills teens joined others from across the state to shine a light on student issues.
Gleneagles Secondary College student Canis walked away from the Victoria Student Representative Congress inspired.
“I realised how much I enjoy working with others to work on implementing ideas and pitching them out,” she said.
“I’ve become more passionate about student voice and now want to find a way for students at my school to have their voices heard – kind of like the idea of having a Gleneagles Congress.
“I realised how big ideas and big changes all start from a small spark, from one person who has an extremely big passion.
“Any change is possible if you do something about it.”
Canis said a valuable lesson she will implement as this year’s school captain was that it was OK to disagree but not OK to disrespect.
“Re-engage, do not just disagree,” she said.
The congress ran from Monday 10 July to Wednesday 12 July at the University of Melbourne’s Ormond College.
The Victorian Student Representative Council is the peak body representing school-aged students in Victoria.
“I was keen to meet student leaders from other schools across the state in order to understand the bigger issues in education, share and exchange experiences, and build relationships and co-operation with other schools,” Canis said.
“I was fortunate enough that my teachers enrolled me to attend the congress along with two other student leaders from Gleneagles, Rowan and Sarah.
“This year is the first year our school participated.”
More than 200 students took part.
“Many of them shared their great ideas at the action market on the first day, from tackling environmental issues in schools to teaching real world skills as part of the school curriculum,” Canis said.
“We were then split into 12 different action teams, each focusing on one issue or idea.”
The Gleneagles trio looked at placing students in year levels based on ability rather than age.
“We worked with our action teams to build on our ideas and ultimately pitch them out at the open morning on the last day,” she said.
Education Minister James Merlino joined Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan, teachers and students at the event.
“I was one of the four students in my action team that had to pitch out our group’s idea,” Canis said.
“I was really nervous but excited at same time since it was the first time I was presenting to a minister or a commissioner.
“However, it was extremely rewarding once I did it and it made me more confident for future public
speaking opportunities.”

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