Meet the 2023 high school leaders from Parramatta high schools

Parramatta Marist High School captains Jonathan Nemeh and Joseph Khalil
Parramatta Marist High School captains Jonathan Nemeh and Joseph Khalil

The 2023 school year is well under way and as year 12 students prepare for their HSC, many are also demonstrating their leadership skills and taking on extra responsibilities as captains and vice captains.

Captain Jonathan Nemeh

I am 17 years old and a proud student of Parramatta Marist High school.

I believe myself to be someone who is hardworking, confident, social and willing to have a go at new opportunities that come my way.

During school I am taking biology, chemistry, business studies, advanced English and extension 1 maths.

During this final year, I have also been given the opportunity to be the school captain of 2023, which is allowing me to connect, reconnect, and build further bonds with peers,teachers and members of the outside community alongside Joseph Khalil, our vice-captain.

Overall, I hope that Parramatta Marist High can be my foundation to go out into the world and achieve greater measures after school.

Encompassing everyone’s unique capabilities and harnessing individual talents and endeavours is something I hope to achieve as school captain.

I have always been taught that “you don’t need a badge to be a leader” and I believe this is true.

As school captain, I want to encourage everyone to have a go, even if it’s at organising a fundraiser or brainstorming ways to promote diversity in our school, it is these moments that will allow us to construct a stronger Marist community.

Overall, my goal as school captain is to serve as a steward of God to those around me.

By asking my peers around the school, important issues that we aim to address are ways to bond with one another as men of Marist. Being an all-boys school, it can be difficult at times to connect with one another but through initiatives such as Bronut Day and Tomorrow Man, we are aiming to build a sense of brotherhood and connections that will allow us to depend upon one another outside of school.

As captain, It is not only about connecting with your own friendship group and familiar teachers but communicating with those who you don’t usually hang out with and placing yourself at a respectable level to those from year 7 all the way to the school principal.

Like anything, the captaincy wasn’t given on a silver platter. Since year 7, the possibility of leadership has motivated me to be the best version of myself and has provided me with new insights into how to manage not only myself but manage a united community.

One of my greatest achievements was when I worked towards a Parramatta Marist virtual open day.

When Covid struck, we thought of a way to bring our amazing school to new students and from that, we promoted our school in a way where everyone can access it from their homes.

Moreover, other initiatives that have led me to this point include; Year 7 to 10 mentoring, organising Push for better (a men’s mental health push-up competition), talking about faith, student-led inductions and many more activities which have brought all of the students closer together.

While I am apprehensive about sitting the HSC, I am also optimistic about the possibilities it can bring.

I hope to complete my degree in a medical field; either veterinary medicine or anaesthetist. Both of these fields I believe will challenge my knowledge and help me achieve success in terms of interpersonal skills and day-to-day management.

Vice-captain Joseph Khalil

I am 17-years old. I am studying advanced English, business studies, mathematics, PDHPE and music.

Last year, in year 11, I completed the accelerated HSC course studies of religion.

Recently I was blessed with such an amazing opportunity to be the vice-captain of Parramatta Marist High School, allowing me the chance to make my peers’ voices heard within our school community working alongside captain Jonathan Nehem to uphold our school’s legacy.

I have loved leadership since I was in primary school, where I was a school sports leader. Since year 7 I have been working on building myself up through many extra and co curricular activities to gain more confidence and experience in front of many people.

Throughout my time here at Parramatta Marist High School, I have been involved in many activities, from public speaking to Australian space design competitions.

What continues to drive me is my love to learn more each day and grow as a person.

As a Marist school, it is important to also embody and promote the Marist charism which has five pillars: family spirit, in the way of Mary, simplicity, love of work and presence.

I also hope to promote the Marist value of family spirit, by creating a sense of belonging and unity among the students, teachers, and staff, and working together towards a common goal of creating a supportive and inclusive school environment.

Through creating these environments we work towards breaking down stigmas and barriers around mental health for young men and through this allow more young men to be open about their mental health and wellbeing.

For many people, I believe that some of the present issues that are crucial to our peers would be mental health and mental health awareness.

As a school we are very privileged to have the opportunity to run initiatives such as Bronut Day where students are able to talk to one another and let their peers know that they are there for them.

As the vice-captain of the school, it is also important that we are able to support students in younger grades such as year 7 with any concerns they may incur within their starting years of high school.

I believe becoming school vice-captain was not something that just happened. It was something Jonathan and myself have been working towards from our junior years.

Through my involvement in the student representative council over three years I was given the opportunity to support the wants and needs of my fellow peers.

Some initiatives and achievements that I believe have led to my school captaincy would be my involvement and active organisation in the RUOK Day Barbecue.

This day ensured all students felt valued and welcomed in the Parramatta Marist community and allowed for all individuals to know they have peers around them to talk to whenever they need support.

As a student who is about to sit the HSC, I am excited about the prospect of pursuing a degree in marketing or human resources.

I believe that both fields offer exciting opportunities to work with people, solve complex problems and contribute to the success of organisations.

Read the full article from The Daily Telegraph