Faith and Pride in our Gen Z’ers

Tuesday, 01 Jun 2021

Every generation has trials and tribulations to deal with that mark their era: the Vietnam War in the late 60s, early 70s; the AIDS crisis in the 80s; the internet in the 90s; terrorism in the 2000s; the financial crash and political instablity of the 2010s; and in the 2020s, the continued growth of social media, concerns over individuals’ rights, safety and freedoms, climate change, pandemics and mental health concerns. 

Yes, it is a complex world with many issues to be understood and remedied. But the emerging generation of those born between 1997 - 2015, known as Generation Z, are taking these challenges in their stride. Today, they are at school, TAFE or University, and many of them are already in the workforce and chasing their dreams.

I’ve been working with Gen Z’ers for most of my teaching career and I find them to be digital, mobile and thrive with social connection. They are innovative, creative, and driven. They are also dreamers and have empathy for political and social concerns. They want to make a difference to this complex world, with strong values and integrity.  Here’s a few examples across a variety of domains to illustrate my faith in Gen Z’ers.


Emma Serisier, BDC Class of 2019
Emma Serisier, BDC Class of 2019

Emma Serisier, class of 2019, excelled in scientific research throughout her senior school years, with a raft of awards by the time she graduated. Emma was named Coffs Harbour Young Citizen of the Year 2020 for her extraordinary efforts in science. She is a problem solver, an environmentalist and a mentor. Emma invented STEMpower as a way for farmers to manage their soil and water quality, and help counteract their environmental footprint. She is strong and resilient and is a trail blazer and role model in a male-dominated community. 

Jack Winchester, BDC Class of 2018
Jack Winchester, BDC Class of 2018

Jack Winchester, class of 2018, has represented Australia in rugby union since he was just 17 years old, and was a foundation member of the BDC High Performance Program. Jack is known mostly by his strength of character and his approachable personality. Since graduating high school, has been studying Law at Bond University after winning the prestigious John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship. In 2020, Jack was selected in the Junior Wallabies training squad and this year he debuted for the Western Force in the Super Rugby AU competition. Jack has however made this multistate journey with the humility and respect that sporting identities are not often recognised for. 

Jonah Bedford, BDC class of 2020
Jonah Bedford, BDC class of 2020

Jonah Bedford, class of 2020, is a proud Aboriginal man with a strong sense of identity, commitment to his people and to the broader community. Jonah won the Grace Roberts Memorial Community Development Award for Youth of the Year in 2020 for his work in mentoring aboriginal youth, and leading numerous aboriginal events. Jonah recently featured in local surfing legend Otis Carey’s Billabong advertising promoting his Guluun Garaala (Rain in the Cloud) range. Jonah spoke out regarding the Black Lives Matter issues with respect, integrity and love in his heart. Jonah now studies medicine at UNSW in Sydney and has the potential to become one of this country's next First Peoples’ leaders.

As Gen Z continues to come of age, I am confident that these socially active, tech-savvy, motivated and independent thinkers will grow to become conscientious, engaged stewards of our planet and help shape a more equitable future for everyone.

Nick Johnstone 
Principal

This article first appeared in the June 2021 edition of Focus Magazine