BlogTrailblazerJoanna Benedict – Santa Sabina College | Top 50 Year 12 Trailblazer 2022

Joanna Benedict – Santa Sabina College | Top 50 Year 12 Trailblazer 2022

Joanna Benedict

What are the Trailblazer Awards?

The Trailblazer Awards celebrates Year 12 students beyond their ATAR, recognising those who have overcome personal challenges and used their final year of school to positively impact their community.

Our Trailblazers will have the opportunity to network with industry leaders, build their personal brand and profile as a future leader, get exam ready in our 1-day HSC Trials Accelerator, and so much more!

Find out how Joanna navigated Year 12 differently throughout 2022!

Introducing: Joanna Benedict

Category: Social Impact & Change

School: Santa Sabina College

State: NSW

Career Aspiration: Working in the field of medicine as an eye surgeon or as a nurse


  • Completed Duke of Ed until the gold level 
  • Dedicated her time to supporting and shopping for the elderly in her community during COVID lockdowns

What makes Joanna a Trailblazer?

Joanna is a passionate young student who is keen to help and support others, this is shown through her dedication to support the elderly in her community during the COVID lockdown period. Joanna spent a large amount of her time volunteering to shop for the elderly in her neighbourhood who were unable to get their groceries due to the lockdown.

Every Wednesday, Joanna would take a trip to her local grocers after her online school day had ended, and search for essential items such as toilet paper, bread, fresh produce and any other groceries the elderly might need. Often, she had to travel to a few different shopping centres to look for specific items such as bread as they would be finished in other stores.

Joanna was not only the person who was able to provide the elderly with their essential groceries, but was also one of the only people that would make contact with these community members. She provided the support and human connection that they so greatly missed due to the intense period of lockdown. Joanna’s weekly visits helped the elderly community feel assured and part of a wider neighbourhood.

Joanna’s experience was one that taught her a few lessons. Though the fear of COVID was strong, she came to realise the value of fostering connections with elderly people in her community, heightened due to the fact that she herself does not have her grandparents with her. She felt as though her volunteering gave her a sense of community and a sense of family, with her elderly neighbours acting as her very own grandparents.

She also realised the need for the younger generation to support the elderly community, understanding the wisdom they hold and developing a fond appreciation for all they have done for the younger generation. Joanna also learnt a few practical lessons such as the value of money, budgeting, looking for sales, and understanding the difference of value between products.

“Through COVID I gained a few grandparents in my neighbourhood. I truly believe this is my greatest achievement than any other school awards or sports awards or music awards. I was blessed to get this opportunity to support my elderly neighbours.”

Joanna’s volunteering experience sparked an interest in becoming a healthcare professional, either a doctor, or a nurse. At this moment, she is more interested in nursing which aligns with her desire to care for and support those who may be struggling through difficult times.

“I wanted to reach out and help. I wanted to care and make sure our older generations are feeling valued and respected. I wanted to make sure that our grandparents are loved, cared, respected, valued, and honoured. I learned to become a person who is approachable, tender and at the same time confident.”

One of the most difficult challenges Joanna faced was online learning, especially due to the lost feeling of community amongst her peers. She greatly missed the routine and bustle that going to school had brought her, from the school atmosphere, noises from fellow students, eating and talking during lunches, face to face talk with teachers and even getting dressed and going to school. Despite this, Joanna stayed strong and soldiered through these tough times, whilst making a significant impact in her local community.

Joanna’s kind heart and drive is just one of the reasons that she is one of our Top 50 Trailblazers for 2022!

The Top 50 Year 12 Trailblazer Awards

The Trailblazer Awards aim to identify and celebrate students who use their final years of school to invest holistically in the skills and experiences that will maximise their own future opportunities and make a contribution to the future of our society.

Our winners for the Year 12 Trailblazer Awards have demonstrated initiative in volunteering for their school or community, have participated in co-curricular activities, and have held leadership positions within their schools.

Learn more about who placed in the Top 50 Year 12 Trailblazers here!

About Art of Smart Education

At Art of Smart Education, we’re an award-winning provider of holistic tutoring and mentoring for students in years K-12. Our mission is to help students answer the difficult question, “What am I going to do with my life when I finish school, and how do I get there?” 

We understand that true success involves mastering study, career and leadership skills while maintaining your wellbeing, not just excelling in academics and as a result, over the last decade, we’ve supported over 10,000 students to achieve their best and maximise their options for life after school.

Each year over one million young Australians, parents, and teachers access our guides, videos and resources to navigate the journey through high school.

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