Fifteen local Hume city students have been recognised as the brightest in their Year 11 legal studies cohort, as part of a new awards and mentoring program that aims to encourage diversity in the legal profession.
The inaugural award is a joint initiative between the Hume City Council, Victorian Bar Foundation and Victorian Bar.
Dr Matthew Collins QC, president of the Victorian Bar, said that the program intended to break down barriers by recognising the potential in young students, regardless of their background.
“The aim of the [program] is to encourage our best students to think about a career in the law, and to demonstrate that the Victorian Bar is open to all on merit, irrespective of socio-economic circumstances, ethnic background, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability,” Dr Collins said.
To be eligible for the Victorian Bar Foundation Student Award & Mentoring Program, students had to be enrolled in a local secondary college and demonstrate consistent academic excellence in Year 11. They must also have achieved the highest grades in Units 1 and 2 of Legal studies and be enrolled for Units 3 and 4.
Winners of the Year 11 award received a $1,500 cash prize to financially support their future — $500 contributed by the Hume City Council and $1,000 by the Victorian Bar Foundation.
As part of the program, winners have been invited to participate in mentoring from the Victorian Bar Foundation and also won a ticket to attend a performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre.
Local councillor and mayor of Hume City, Geoff Porter, said it was important to encourage students who were passionate about Legal Studies with “insights into how the legal profession works and start developing a successful career path”.
“All of the recipients demonstrated positive values, including respect, collaboration, and willingness to engage, skills everyone interested in a career in law must have,” Cr Porter said.
“These students will be future leaders, thinkers and workers of our community; we are so proud of everything they have achieved.”
“We want all students within Hume City to thrive and are sure that the recipients of these awards will go on to excel in their studies and future careers,” he added.
The recipients of the first Victorian Bar Foundation Student Award & Mentoring Program are:
Aleyna Ulku (Aitken College), Kalia Vang (Craigieburn Secondary College), Rayan Ghajraoui (Gladstone Park Secondary College), Amelie Theuma (Hume Anglican Grammar), Daniel Standaar (Hume Central Secondary College - Senior Campus 10-12), Easha Nasir (Ilim College - Girls Campus), Marie Petrolo (Kolbe Catholic College), Sanya Aggarwal (Mount Ridley College), Thomas Morrison (Penola Catholic College), Olivia Vertsonis (Roxburgh College - Roxburgh Park Campus), Jack Scholes (Salesian College - Rupertswood Campus), Mahmoud Kashoa (Sirius College Meadow Fair Campus), Teresa Moshie (St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox College), Vanessa White (Sunbury College), Amelia Brydson (Sunbury Downs College).
Pictured above: The Honourable Justice John Digby, Chairman, Victorian Bar Foundation, Hume City Mayor Geoff Porter and Hume City Councillor Leigh Johnson with the winning students.