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SSC Newspaper : September 2011
Scene of battle: Benjamin Stewart, Thomas Beverley, Andrew Martin (St Patrick’s staff), Nathan Nicholl, Joel Schiffler and Connor Honeysett at a World War II tunnel. By Bernadette Chua The age of 17 seems a tad young to have a life-changing experience but Strathfield teenager Connor Honeysett is clearly a young man who wants to make his mark on the world. Earlier this year, St Patrick’s College year 12 student Honeysett led a group of fellow students delivering a consignment of medical supplies in a remote area of Papua New Guinea before spending 12 days with the locals. Honeysett, who is the recipient of an accelerated leadership and mentoring program sponsored by Dooleys Catholic Club in Lidcombe, worked in Napapar, a village in East New Britain where both fresh water and medical care are scarce. “Going to Papua New Guinea gave me a whole different outlook on life, he said. “Experiencing the Papua New Guinean culture and meeting different types of people was something phenomenal. “It made me realise that there are so many people in this world that need help – whichiswhyIwantto dedicate my life to helping struggling communities.” Honeysett has always wanted to pursue a medical career – his mother, aunt and cousin are all doctors. Not only did his 12-day visit to New Britain reinforce his desire to become doctor, it has given his ambitions a new direction. “ We arrived in the villages and the locals were so happy to see us and were unbelievably grateful for the work we were doing for them. “Seeing their expressions is a feeling I can’t describe. It’s hard to explain how happy they were to see us. Watching the Australian doctor who came with us made me want to go back to rural communities like these that don’t have basic medical necessities we take for granted. “ When I finish my medical degree, I’d like to go back to PNG rather than work in a hospital [in Australia]. I think working in a rural community will make me a better doctor.” Honeysett was chosen to lead a group of five students from St Patrick’s who were tasked with sorting , packaging and delivering the supplies – donated by Rotar y Australia – to a clinic in Napapar, travelling through tropical forest and rough terrain. Honeysett says leading the team would have not been possible without the help of the life coach provided by Dooleys under its leadership learning and mentoring program called Max Potential. Honeysett’s mentor is Marcelo Veloz, general manager at Dooleys, who has raised money for the Oxfam Foundation and other charities that donate funds to disadvantaged communities, both nationally and internationally. “Marcelo is such an inspirational person,” Honeysett said. “He really encouraged me to take this trip and being under his guidance made me realise my full potential to be a leader. “I didn’t realise I was a natural leader but as a child I was always told that I was born to lead. Having Marcelo as my life coach showed me that I achieve anything I put my mind to. Honeysett said the Max Potential program was only the first step to becoming a good leader. “Marcelo was the one who taught me that if I wanted to succeed, I had to make it happen. “Marcelo said an experience like this will change my life and I’ll be able to apply what I learnt through Max Potential. He was right. “ I am so lucky to be given the opportunity to be part of a process which means that people in remote villages will get good medical care. “ There are so many people in the world that need medical aid and I hope one day, if I do become a doctor, I can make a difference.” 16 Strathfield Scene local hero september 2011 Dooleys took seven St Patrick’s College students under its wing. Each boy spent 14 weeks with a life coach as part of its Max Potential Program. The program offers personal leadership development, including individual coaching from community volunteers. Each of the boys is groomed to take a leadership role in the community. Some worked with the mentally disabled, some with the elderly, but Honeysett and his team chose to venture further afield. Coaches and participants – such as Marcelo Veloz and Connor Honeysett – are encouraged to discover their ability to lead their lives effectively, lead others in a team and to make a difference to their community. On shaky ground: above left, Honeysett with Tim Chapman with local boys in front of a volcano in Rabaul; above. loading medical supplies on to a truck outside Napapar. Hard work: above, the St Pat’s team travelled through tropical forest and rough terrain to deliver its much-needed cargo; right, sorting and repackaging medical supplies; below left, the 11 St Pat’s boys who made the trip to New Britain; below right: Michael van Diggelen being taught pidgin by the locals.n . An opportunity to mAke A difference “Seeing their expressions is a feeling I can’t describe. It’s hard to explain how happy they were to see us.” New Britain, papua New Guinea’s largest island, has about 40 languages, in addition to tok pisin (pidgin) and english. Trip changes a life forever