No fence sitting here

“SOME PEOPLE WANT IT TO HAPPEN, SOME WISH IT TO HAPPEN, OTHERS MAKE IT HAPPEN.”

Last year Art4Agriculuture introduced you to Jordan Kerr a young man who is making things happen. Jordan’s strong social conscience, sense of community and commitment to be the change that needs to happen had already seen him represent Australia at the Global Young Leaders Conference 2011, where he had a speaking gig at the United Nations 2011 in New York.

Having now finished his HSC he is having a gap year before he embarks on a degree in Social Inquiry and International Studies at UTS. With this degree under his belt he will then be looking at a career in international politics and diplomacy.  I am confident people like Nick Xenophon would be grateful indeed to have someone of the ilk of Jordan watching their back 

Jordan has accomplished a great deal in the last 12 months including represent Australia at the Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington DC in January 2013.

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He has also set up Youth Link Australia (YLA) in 2012 . The aim of YLA  is to connect youth across Australia with youth services 

I personally see Jordan as a socially conscious leader. I see someone who is aware of the issues facing both local and global communities and is actively trying to correct the problem and providing opportunities to nurture others to do the same. 

Today Jordan gives us an update on the last 12 months. I am just not quite sure what to say when I read his story and see what he has achieved in such a short time. I just wonder what I have been doing with my life. If only the world was full of people the calibre of Jordan Kerr 

The story so far can be found here and the next chapter follows ……

During the six years I spent at Hurlstone Agricultural High School in Glenfield NSW I was lucky enough to meet a number of fellow students who share my values and priorities and then find a supportive teacher body who encouraged us in our endeavours to find and trial new and different ways to connect with and contribute to the wider community.

Having personally benefited from the many opportunities for Australian youth locally, nationally and internationally, I was keen for other young people to share the benefits as well. So last year six of my fellow Hurlstonians got together and set up Youth Link Australia with the purpose of connecting young people with services and opportunities within their community.  By providing a single website Australian youth now have access to a vast variety of resources in one place.

As an organisation we aim to:

  • Enable youth to easily access national services online in one website.
  • Encourage youth to get actively involved within their local community.
  • Provide information in relation to youth volunteering and extra-curricular activities.
  • Provide information in relation to leadership opportunities locally, nationally and internationally.

We are also very partnership focused and work with other organisations to help promote their work to Australian youth, so if you like what you see when you visit our website we would love to hear from you.

Now to the highlight of my 2013 year so far and that of course is being selected to represent Australia at the Presidential Inaugural Conference which was held in Washington DC during January 2013.

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Sponsored by the NSW Government, Xstrata Coal, Dick Smith (the individual not the company) and the John Edmondson VC Memorial Club I participated in the 5 day conference that celebrates the inauguration of the President of the United States. IMG_1064

The conference also explored how President’s run winning campaigns and the roles of Presidential staff. Through practical simulations and hands on seminars we actually got to take on the role of presidential staff and run mock campaigns. The conference also explored the history and the controversy surrounding former US President Richard Nixon. A special screening of the movie All the Presidents Men explored the breaking of the Watergate scandal and can you believe it I later had the opportunity to meet with Bob Woodward one of the United States most acclaimed reporters responsible for revealing the scandal to the public.

Jordan Kerr with Bob Wooward

Guest speakers at the conference included Dr. Condoleezza Rice, General Wesley Clark and Mr Claes Nobel.  Dr. Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to the President spoke about her insider’s perspective of the US Presidency and also about growing up in a segregated community. General Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, four-star general and Presidential Candidate spoke about his leadership experiences on and off the battlefield. Mr Claes Nobel the grandnephew of Alfred Nobel founder of the Nobel Prize addressed the conference about the importance of youth leadership.

The conference also included an evening performance by The Capitol Steps, a former group of congressional staffers turned songwriters. Along with this a black tie Gala Inaugural Celebration took place at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar- Hazy Center, home to thousands of aviation and space artefacts, including the Space Shuttle Discovery.

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Inauguration day was of course the biggest highlight of the conference. Standing amongst the among the hundreds of thousands of people watching the President take the Oath of Office was a truly unforgettable experience. The national pride and American patriotism was like nothing I had ever seen before.

Jordan was there … he saw history and he was part of it …… I have a feeling he will be making history himself in the not too distant future

Look out Hillary Clinton, Jordan Kerr might just be joining you on the list of 100 most influential people

The Mudgee district is well known for its fine wine. Its also the home of a quite remarkable young man. Our guest blogger today is Jordan Kerr one of the major prize winners in the Art4agriculture Cream of the Crop Competition. Jordan attends Hurlstone Agriculture High School at Glenfield and is now in his final year. He is hoping his HSC mark will allow him to do a degree in Social Inquiry and International Studies at UTS with a view to a career in international politics and diplomacy.

Jordan is certainly off to a great start. He represented Australia at the Global Young Leaders Conference 2011, where he had a speaking gig at the United Nations 2011 in New York.

Jordan also played a very active role in the fight to save his school from being the victim of urban sprawl in 2009. Jordan featured in a Daily Telegraph story where he was quoted as saying “ the Government is trying to turn the school into a hobby farm with one cow and one sheep. I am asking, as a student, to please help save my school and the future of Australia,” he said. “We are a fully functioning farm that is running with a profit. It is the future and the State Government needs to learn to keep its hands off.”

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Jordan and his dog as they appeared in the Daily Telegraph in 2009 with a passionate plea to save Hurlstone Agricultural School from the auctioneers hammer 

Buoyed by vocal students like Jordan, the lobby group SHEAP and strong community support the school managed to escape the auctioneers hammer. Read the incredible full story How people power saved Hurlstone’s green space here

Jordan’s extra curricula activities which include being Chair of the school’s environmental committee and overseeing the installation of a $10,000 Eco gardenat the school has seen him win the NSW Premiers Diamond Award for volunteering 2010.

Jordan also played a key role in Hurlstone Agricultural High School’s Archibull Prize entry for 2011. The cow they called iMoo is made out of stiffened cotton and covered with 10 iPads. IMG_0466

Jordan sought and obtained interviews with a number of NSW government ministers  including Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and the Premier Barry O’Farrell which he then loaded onto the the iPads to make their cow highly interactive and quite unique indeed . See Jordan talk about the interviews here and read our popular blog post on iMoo here

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Jordan pictured with Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP at the Archibull Prize Awards ceremony

I have never quite met anyone like Jordan before. He is one of the most focused young people I have seen and I have gut feeling Mudgee will famous for a lot more than its wine when Jordan enters the world of international politics.

Here is Jordan story …….

After growing up in Mudgee and attending Mudgee Public school I followed my sister to Sydney to attend Hurlstone Agricultural High School. There were a number reasons I was keen to attend Hurlstone including the fact that it is one of the top schools in NSW and I also wanted to experience the excitement of going to a boarding school. While this was all well and good I soon found out that boarding school was not easy. Living away from home as a 12 year old, was a bit lonely. But I soon settled in and the support from the students and the staff was fantastic. Attending Hurlstone has also allowed me to explore my extracurricular and leadership potential. In 2011 I represented Australia at the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC and New York.

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At this conference I spoke to fellow international youth delegates at the United Nations as well as speaking to a conference room full of students about the importance of Agriculture to our future.This conference was a great opportunity for me as I met lots of passionate and committed people interested in the same things that I am.

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Jordan speaks at the UN in 2011

When I saw a poster advertising the Cream of the Crop competition I thought to myself what a fantastic idea. I knew coming from a regional area and going to Hurlstone I had the inside story on agriculture that I could share to help educate others. Living in the city I was well aware most people believed that milk came from the supermarket and meat came from the butchers. Speaking at the Global Young leaders Conference in 2011, I knew the importance of agriculture for our survival and international stability. Understanding the role of agriculture in feeding 3rd world countries is also of paramount importance.

At the conclusion of the conference on feeding the growing global population I spoke with fellow speakers about what issues they thought currently faced our sustainability. The main concern was population growth and its ramifications on food security and the environment and political stability.  Population and urban expansion became the theme for my Cream of the Crop Competition 2011 entry. The idea was to help show the impact unchecked population growth will have on not only Australia, but the entire world.

After creating my PowerPointI thought about the logistics to feed such vast areas of population and what does it take to feed massive cities such as Sydney?

I knew that opinions would vary so decided to conduct a variety of video interviews on the issue from the public to the NSW Premier. I then compiled the interviews into a video titled ‘Feeding Sydney’to help people come to terms with the huge amount of food that it takes to feed Sydney each day.

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Team Kerr at the Cream of the Crop Competition Awards and Presentation Day

I believe education in particular kids teaching kids is a great way to tell the real story of agriculture. In this way we can generate respect for food and the people and industries involved in its production as well as the farmers that grow it and all the people who support them such as the scientists who do the research and development.  Lets not forget the resources of land, water and human skills that produce it. Wow when you think of it that way its must be the greatest story ever told.

Thank you Jordan.  This is indeed a special young man don’t you agree?

Cream of the Crop 2011 Winners Announced

Cranebrook High School Student Amber O’Neill has won the Cream of the Crop Competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year.

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Tarryn Whitfield from Landcare Australia presents Amber with the Woolworths Award of Excellence for Best Video

The Cream of the Crop Competition is an Art4Agriculture initiative which invites students in NSW schools to create a PowerPoint or a video promoting the importance of agriculture to their peers to encourage a better understanding of agriculture as well as promote agricultural careers and rural life.

Amber prepared four entries for the competition this year but it was her video about agricultural careers “Are you the One?” that took out the overall prize.

Amber O’Neill Winner of 2011 Cream of the Crop Competition

 

Amber highlighted a chef, a scientist, a mechanic and a designer as careers linked to agriculture and interviewed eight of her teachers at Cranebrook High School to discover which subject is most strongly linked to agriculture’s sustainability.

“What the judges loved about Amber’s winning video, was her understanding of the diverse careers in Australian agriculture,” says Art4Agriculrue National Program Director Lynne Strong.  “As an industry, we are keen to point out that not all jobs in agriculture involve mud and flies!”

Her four-minute video features 30 agricultural careers that derive from school subjects such as mathematics, geography, food science and industrial design. “Importantly too, Amber’s video pays tribute to the unsung heroes of Australian agriculture, the teachers who instil knowledge and passion in their students who become our sector’s next generation of leaders and innovators,” says Lynne.

When asked what inspired her to enter multiple entries, Amber, who is in Year 10 at Cranebrook High School “I love it, there are so many interesting topics.” This was Amber’s first attempt at making a video and while it took a while to master the program, she was excited by the result. Read Amber’s guest blog here

Fellow winner, Neil Jain of Hurlstone Agricultural High School agrees that you learn something new every time you enter. “Not just about the subject, but the technology,” says Neil whose video  “Genetic Modification – Is it Safe?” won the Best Middle School category.

Neil Jain Winner of Middle School Section Cream of the Crop 2011

 

Neil’s entry explored the science of genetic modification as well as some of the issues surrounding the arguments for and against the science. “It’s an important topic for feeding the world”, said Neil. “Genetic modification may not always be 100% safe, but if it is a solution to the global food crisis, it should be a field to look into.”

Also of Hurlstone Agricultural High School is Jordan Kerr who won the best Senior School entry for his video “Feeding Sydney” which explores how much food Sydney needs and the sustainability of the city’s food supply.

Jordan Kerr Winner 2011 Senior Section Cream of the Crop Competition

 

Jordan filmed vox pops with commuters in Sydney asking how many tonnes of food they thought Sydney consumes every day then captures their reactions when they learn the figure is 5,500 tonnes; 1,000 times more than one guess.

Jordan’s video also features interviews with the Premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell, Leader of the National Party Andrew Stoner and the NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson.

“This year the Cream of the Crop Competition finalists covered topics as diverse as keeping chickens, sustainable agriculture, the global food crisis and the sheep and cotton industries, which again, demonstrates the diversity of our sector,” says Lynne.  “All finalist presentations are now on the Web for sharing with the world and with around 100,000 web hits since 2009, they are certainly making an impression,” says Lynne.

The event featured Stephanie Coombes, creator of Careers in Australian Agriculture website & proud Agvocate for Australia Agriculture as MC. See Steph’s blog on her day here

Isobel Moore winner of the Dubbo Speech Spectacular was guest speaker

Hear guest presenter Catherine Marriott RIRDC Rural Women’s Award WA talk about the Cream of the Crop on Show Radio and watch the finalists receive their awards here

Cream of the Crop 2011 finalists receive their awards

 

A special thank you to the Cream of the Crop competition’s sponsors

Woolworths Ltd

Dairy Research Foundation

Managing Climate Variability Program

SBScibus

Country Valley Milk

Medenis Vet Clinic

Landcare Illawarra