Young Advocates, ROHAN POWER

As part of the Catholic Schools Office Virtual Academy, students from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are encouraged to think across disciplines to solve real world-problems in an area of interest to them. 

At the end of the year, students in the Virtual Academy present their research to a panel of education, industry, and community experts. It is a rewarding opportunity for some of the Diocese’s most highly gifted students to advocate for matters close to their heart and understand their ability to apply their critical and creative thinking skills to drive change. The academy supports extended learning for students in Years 5-8.

Here is a snapshot of Rohan Power's current research project: 

Year 8, All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus, Maitland
Rohan is on a mission to empower locals to better understand the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number 9, specifically target 9.1.

It states: "Develop quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human wellbeing, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all."

To achieve this, and as part of his Virtual Academy project, Rohan is focusing his attention on developing a concept plan for a new outdoor gym circuit for Maitland Park.

"The concept helps meet the UN's goal as it would be an innovative piece of infrastructure. I've designed it to be sustainable, resilient, focused on human wellbeing, affordable and enable equitable access," Rohan said.

The keen sportsman said the idea for the outdoor gym circuit was born during lockdown when he could not play community sport.

"An outdoor gym is something that all locals could use. It is free and encourages people to be a part of their community, be active and healthy.

He said he selected Maitland Park due to its central locality and easy accessibility. And now that the plans for his project are in their final stages, he has his sights set on presenting the idea to Maitland City Council.

It's not the first time Rohan has lobbied the government to reconsider broadening the use of outdoor spaces for exercise. In 2019, he shared his Virtual Academy project, which centred on the redevelopment of No. 1 Sports Ground in Newcastle to accommodate top-class cricket and AFL matches. To his delight, it received traction.

"Not long after, I read in the news that this was actually going to happen," Rohan said.


In 2022 the Virtual Academy presentation day will be held online via Microsoft Teams on Thursday 25 November. During the day we will acknowledge and celebrate our students and provide them with the opportunity to discuss their learning and their work with a group of very interested and knowledgeable experts. Each student’s presentation will be based on their research project completed as part of a their unit of work. 

Gifted Education is a focus for schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. To discover more about our Gifted Education program click here. 

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Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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