BlogTrailblazerLaila McDonald – St John Paul College | Top 50 Year 12 Trailblazer 2022

Laila McDonald – St John Paul College | Top 50 Year 12 Trailblazer 2022

Laila McDonald

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 Laila navigated Year 12 differently throughout 2022!

Introducing: Laila McDonald

Category: Social Impact & Change

School: St John Paul College

State: NSW

Career Aspiration: Medicine


  • Chairman of Year 12 Fundraising Committee at St John Paul College
  • Raising significant funds for local charities
  • Previously held the position of House Vice Captain

What makes Laila a Trailblazer?

An enthusiastic all-rounder, Laila has been a driving force for social justice at St John Paul College. As Chairman of their Year 12 Fundraising Committee, she has organised many successful fundraising events, leading her peers in making a notable difference in the community.

Combining her talent in sport with her ambition for social change, Laila participated in the CanDo Cancer Trust Rottnest Channel Swim fundraiser for which the school achieved an award for the Most Laps swam. She has another event in the works – a trivia night – for which she has worked with her peers to develop a theme and promote it to their cohort.

Laila’s position has given her the opportunity to hone her leadership skills and practise responsibilities such as delegating roles, organising schedules and gathering sponsorships, which place her in great stead for her future aspirations for a career in medicine.

Laila organised and led her peers to hosting their school’s most successful golf day, raising an incredible $13,500 to donate to their two chosen charities: The Men’s Resource Centre ‘Bridging the Gap’ and CanDo Cancer Trust. To further support the CanDo Cancer Trust, Laila joined a group of her peers in swimming 36 laps for the Rottnest Channel Swim fundraiser.

With such successful experience under her belt, there is no doubt that Laila’s next fundraiser, a ‘When I Grow Up…Occupations’ themed trivia night, will achieve even greater support for the charities. Through her chairman position, Laila has aided these charities in continuing their great work, having a positive impact on both her immediate and the greater community.

Unfortunately, the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic were unavoidable, and like many of Year 12 students around the country Laila’s motivation for study was challenged. Yet, she worked hard to complete all of her work and focus on Trial exams at home.

Even without the stress and uncertainty of lockdowns, Year 12 is a demanding year. Laila’s major challenge was discovering how to balance the workloads of all of her subjects and resist the urge to focus her time and energy on just one or two subjects.

Furthermore, she learnt how difficult it can be to manage studies along with part-time work, sport commitments, and her role in social justice. However, Laila developed a very important life skill: learning to say ‘no’ and know when she needed to compromise and prioritise study over a shift at work or a sports match.

Laila aspires to enter the medical field in the future, working as either a nurse or paramedic. She is passionate about helping people, and has a passion for science, mathematics, and health. Her experience being a leader will place her in great stead for such a career, as she has developed the patience and people skills required through collaborating with and encouraging her peers.

“I have developed leadership skills through my chairman role… In the future, I will need these skills to ensure equality of opportunity for others in the workplace and schooling environment.”

Laila is a wonderful role model in her community, leading her school to making positive change in their community, while also working hard to achieve her own goals. She is an incredibly well deserving member of our Top 50 Trailblazers!

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.

45,861 students have a head start...

Get exclusive study content & advice from our team of experts delivered weekly to your inbox!

AOS Website Asset 2

Looking for Academic Support?

Discover how we can help you!

AOS Website Asset 1