Vic Bar recognises Hume students' excellence

Published on 04 July 2023

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Seventeen of Hume’s brightest students have been recognised by the Victorian Bar for academic excellence in legal studies.

Each receives $1,000 from the Victorian Bar Foundation and $500 from the Hume City Council.

The students will participate in work experience during their school holidays that will include a tour of the Supreme Court of Victoria and briefings from leading barristers.

Speaking at the presentation the Chair of the Victorian Bar Foundation, retired Supreme Court Judge John Digby, said the joint initiative between Victorian Bar and Hume City Council is aimed at encouraging local students to pursue a career in the law.

“We want to encourage future generations from diverse communities to consider law and highlight that a career at the Victorian Bar is open to all,” he said.

His Honour emphasised the growing number of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures among over 2,000 barristers at the Bar.

“More than 40 per cent of all junior barristers are female,” he said. “Approximately 15 per cent of barristers were born overseas and come from 33 countries.

“Almost half have at least one parent who was born overseas and 10 per cent speak a language other than English at home.”

The Patron of the Victorian Bar Foundation, High Court Justice, Michelle Gordon AC, said the Student Achievement Award and Mentoring Program, which is in its fifth year, reinforces that the Victorian Bar is open to all irrespective of socio-economic circumstances, ethnic background, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

“My father arrived in this country in the 1950s as an economic refugee. I come from what my mother describes as ‘humble beginnings’,” she said.

“What I learnt was that with hard work, opportunities, encouragement and support from others, I was able to have a career as a barrister as well as be a wife, a mother, a friend and to seek to contribute to the broader community in different ways.”

Justice Gordon told the students how the award and mentoring program will expose them to potentially life-long links with current leaders in the legal profession — barristers, judges, administrators — to name just a few.

“Grab with both hands the opportunity that this award gives you,” she said. “Be inquisitive. Ask questions of the people you meet because we will ask questions of you. I know we will be surprised by what we can learn from each other.”

The Victorian Bar Foundation Student Achievement Award and Mentoring Program winners for 2023 are:

Jasmine Roeschmann Roxburgh College

Komal Joshi Hume Anglican Grammar

Aron Ko Craigeburn Secondary College

Mohammad Mahmood Sheikh Sirius College Boys’ Campus

Abdurrahman Merhi Ilim College Boys’ Campus

Filiz Ozkadi Ilim College Girls’ Campus

Claire Adams Penola Catholic College

Selafina Akauola Kolbe Catholic College

David Geissler Sunbury Downs College

Rita Gawrge St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox College

Hajrah Sajid Sirius College Girls’ Campus

Maryam Albert Hume Central Secondary College

Sarah Foster Salesian College

Flanna Maju Aitken College

Tyra Saavedra Mount Ridley College

Callum McMahon Sunbury College

Hanna Alnader Gladstone Park Secondary College

Quotes attributable to the Mayor of Hume City, Cr Joseph Haweil:

“Partnering with the Victorian Bar Foundation is a way council can support our young community members to reach their full potential through their academic achievements, which are celebrated through these awards.

“Pursuing a career in the legal sector is just one way the young people of Hume can strive to make a change in this world. I hope those involved are proud of their hard work and will continue to take the opportunity to learn from others in the field.”