CANBERRA TRIP GIVES STUDENTS
EXPERIENCES TO REMEMBER

A visit to Canberra by two students from WA College of Agriculture - Cunderdin has left them with experiences they will remember for a lifetime.

Laura-Kate Dymond from Northam and Emily Jaekel from Ongerup were regional winners in the 2013 ABC Heywire competition and the trip was their reward. They left Perth on February 8 at the start of their trip.

"After a few introductions our new found friendships began to flourish.  "Our minds just clicked and we got along completely. "From there we headed off to the Australian Museum and wandered around the magnificent building learning lots about our country's history," Emily said.

On the second day the participants chose an issue they considered important to rural communities and discussed ways to deal with them. Laura-Kate chose mental health and Emily chose agriculture. Everyone was passionate about their issue. In the afternoon they had the opportunity to talk to members from the departments of education, health and agriculture who gave them input and constructive feedback on their topics, they said.

The third day included a visit to the Australian War Memorial where they watched the Last Post ceremony and Emily laid a wreath in memory of soldiers from WA. A visit to Parliament House was another highlight. As well as attending question time, some of the party were taken on tours by their local MP's, to places not normally open to the public. Some of the parliamentarians also spent time with the youth from their electorates talking about issues and opportunities.

"Our last day was very busy deciding how to present our issues to the parliamentary representatives. "After the stress which reflected our hard work and persistence during the week, we stood in front of 200 members of parliament and delivered our pitches and received some amazing responses," Emily said.

"The gala dinner was a magical way to finish our visit to Canberra. "After many sad goodbyes we set off on our journey home. "We were soon back at school and into routine at Cunderdin," she said.

Emily and Laura-Kate agreed that their experience taught them to accept opportunity and to appreciate life in the country. "We discovered that everyone has a story to share and we should respect each other as we have no idea what anyone else has been through."The trip allowed us to form networks that will last forever. "We met inspirational young people of our own generation, industry leaders and parliamentarians and developed powerful messages we want to share," they said.

Above: ABC Heywire winners Emily Jaekel from Ongerup (left) and Laura-Kate Dymond (Northam) with WA Young Australian of the Year, Dr John van Bockxmeer.