BlogTrailblazerMax McFarlane – Inverell High School | Top 50 Year 12 Trailblazer 2022

Max McFarlane – Inverell High School | Top 50 Year 12 Trailblazer 2022

Max McFarlane

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 Max navigated Year 12 differently throughout 2022!

Introducing: Max McFarlane

Category: Social Impact & Change

School: Inverell High School

State: NSW

Career Aspiration: Politics – Community Service


  • Strengthened Community Support through Charity and Advocacy Initiatives
  • First LGBTQIA+ High School Captain at Inverell High School for 2022
  • Holds the position of Youth Parliament Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Affairs

What makes Max a Trailblazer?

Max McFarlane has established a fair few stepping stones to make Inverell High School a fun, inclusive and safe space. As the first LGBTQIA+ High School Captain at Inverell, Max has already organised fundraising days and community events to give back to his school and broader community.

One initiative close to Max’s heart was the Ally Initiative. The Ally Initiative occurred over this June’s Pride Month with the particular goal of representing and decreasing stigma of the LGBTQIA+ community in the rural town of Inverell.

The work behind the Ally Initiative was tough, but worth it to jumpstart the support for LGBTQIA+ Inverell students. Max organised Rainbow Pride Pin handouts for teachers who supported LGBTQIA+ students and gave a speech to over 500 students on diversity and inclusivity.

“This was a very personal initiative as I wish I saw representation within my rural and traditionally minded community when I was younger.”

Another important initiative Max tackled was establishing the Breakfast Program at Inverell High School. The Breakfast program partners with local groups and offers nutritious meals available to students who might otherwise go hungry. Of course, these commitments also were made possible with the help of the 36 members of the Inverell SRC who collaborate with Max and carry out the tasks involved with the initiatives.

Outside of school, Max volunteers for Meals on Wheel and is the Youth Parliament Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Affairs as well as a Youth Advocacy Panellist Speaker for the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. With a big passion for politics, he has helped out during this May’s Federal election. He’s even managed to slip in time from his busy HSC schedule to work at the accounting firm, Skybridge, as a Financial Paraplanner!

Although they have helped expand the horizons of many students’ futures, Max has encountered pushback. As a student in rural NSW, the state’s increasing teacher shortage and lack of funding for technology has only crippled Max’s school opportunities. For Max, touring universities and further education after Year 12 — seemingly simple opportunities — are practically a difficult and expensive challenge.

“COVID-19 has impacted us all, however these impacts were compounded significantly in regional and rural Australian schools, throughout the pandemic lack of technology and secure access to [the] Internet impacted me greatly.”

Despite the challenges of being a rural school student, Max hopes to work in politics in the future and commit to the community services sector. With all their dedication and passion, we thought it was only right for Max to be one of 2022’s Trailblazer Winners — a title we think they wholeheartedly deserve.

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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