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FDN Holds Successful Scholarship Ceremony, NSW Premier`s Generous Contribution

Apr 4, 2013   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell (L) presents cheque to FDN Chairman Corey Payne. Photo: Kerry Beever

The Future Direction Network (FDN) held an intimate scholarship ceremony on Wednesday 3 April 2013 to present its inaugural scholarship to three students from Sydney’s South West.

The event was sponsored by Canterbury Leagues Club and attended by approximately fifty people including the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Barry O’Farrell.

The Premier also took the opportunity to announce a generous contribution of $72,000 to FDN’s scholarship fund.

“FDN’s work is inspirational in reminding people of both the importance of education and the opportunities on offer”, the Premier said.

FDN Chairman and 2013 NSW Young Australian of the Year Corey Payne was pleased with the outcome of the night. “It was a fantastic night and a special achievement for all who are and have been involved with FDN.

“I would personally like to thank the Premier and the NSW State Government for their generous support and also Canterbury Leagues for hosting the event”, Corey said.

The inaugural FDN Scholarships was presented to three students; Lauren Pearce, Pita Siganisucu and Joseph Babana. The scholarship will provide each student $6,000 per annum over the next 3 years. It is aimed at helping students from Western Sydney deal with the financial burden and expense of attending university. Each scholarship recipient has also been paired with a mentor to help support, encourage and guide them through their studies.

Scholarship recipient, Lauren Pearce stated “It was a fantastic night that I will remember forever, the first of many doors FDN has opened for me.”

The FDN Board would like to thank all of its supporters for their generosity and support.


From Left: NSW Premier the Hon. Barry O’Farrell, Joseph Babana, Lauren Pearce, Pita Siganisucu and FDN Chairman Corey Payne. Photo: Kerry Beever

FDN Ambassador visits South Sydney High (19 March 2013)

Mar 25, 2013   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Sydney Swan and AFL Premiership winning player Mike Pyke took time out of his busy schedule on Tuesday the 19th of March to speak at South Sydney High.

The Future Direction Network received a request from Helen Stell of South Sydney High to provide a guest speaker at their thank you ceremony in recognition of all the hard work their students had put into the Premiers Volunteers Program.

South Sydney High run a program called the NSW Premiers Volunteers program where students from years 9 & 10 volunteer for a variety of things including surf life saving, scribing for less able students, helping kids with disabilities, fund raising, running youth groups, painting areas of the school in their own time, cleaning, gardening, working as volunteers at the hospital during their holidays – meeting and greeting parents and students at various parent evenings helping out at school  BBQ’s.

Mr Pyke was only too happy to assist with the request and spent time talking about his story to the students. Mike spoke about growing up in Canada, playing Rugby Union and moving to Australia and playing AFL for the Sydney Swans. He also spoke about the importance of education and reiterated the benefits of higher education and how he is combining a Master of Commerce an internship at Citibank and his professional sporting career.
Great work Mike.

Andrew Page speaks at Fairfield High and Westfields Sports (March 20th 2013)

Mar 25, 2013   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Andrew Page who was raised and lived in Birrong until age 25, spoke at both Westfields Sports and Fairfield High on Wednesday the 20th of March as part of the FDN Guest Speakers Program.

Mr Page who is a chartered accountant having completed  a bachelor of Business at the Australian Catholic University in 2001 now works for a large ASX listed company.

Andrew spoke about the fact that neither of his parents went to university, and that students in a similar situation should not be afraid to think that university is not open to them. He noted how having a university degree and chartered accounting qualifications has given him the opportunity to travel the world and work abroad.

Andrew stated that the clear benefits of going to university are that you get to meet many people from very different backgrounds, have a lot of fun studying with them and walk out of university with a set of qualifications that employer’s value.

“I really enjoyed speaking to the students and answering their questions” Andrew commented.

“It was great to interact with them and hear their thoughts on further study and help fill in any information gaps that they had” Andrew further stated.

A big thank you to Andrew on behalf of the Future Direction Network team!

Andrew’s presentations can be downloaded from FDN’s presentations page.

FDN Chair and Fairfield High students meet Prime Minister (5th of March 2013)

Mar 11, 2013   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Future Direction Network Executive Chairman Corey Payne was today joined by Paulo Greaves (who is completing his HSC at Fairfield High), Elaine Yeo (who is a first year Arts and Law student at the University of Sydney), Deputy Principal Ekbal Sayed-Rich and Principal of Fairfield High Robert Mulas for a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard this afternoon in Rooty Hill.

The Prime Minister, who is visiting Western Sydney this week, contacted Mr. Payne over the weekend to arrange a time to meet with him to discuss the ongoing work of the Future Direction Network (FDN).

Mr. Payne arranged for students and staff from Fairfield High (an FDN portfolio school) to join him in attending a meeting with the PM to give her a firsthand insight into the power of the work that FDN has been undertaking in Western Sydney.

Elaine Yeo explained that FDN inspired “her thinking” about her education and the benefits of “leadership and mentoring in building aspirations” and sharing success stories with FHS students from individuals who know the challenges of growing up in Western Sydney.

“Paulo Greaves is a fine example of the impact that FDN is having. Paulo communicated to the PM how FDN had provided him with inspiration to pursue a university degree, but more importantly gave him the information and insight needed to enable him to feel comfortable in setting his ambition to do so” Mr Payne stated.

Ekbal Sayed-Rich said that Fairfield High School had “enjoyed a strong partnership with FDN over the past two years”. Students from years 7-12 had engaged with the guest speaker program, parents Information evening, scholarship opportunities, FDN web site support for students and visits to university open days.

Students and their parents now know more and are better informed about a pathway to university. There are many variables to the gradual increase in the number of University places over the past two years at Fairfield High, however, it is clear that the “FDN program has had a strong impact on students’ aspirations for the future directions of their education plan” Ekbal stated.

“The PM was absolutely fantastic. We were able to sit and chat with her on a number of topics for a solid amount of time. The PM was very interested to hear from the students and also Principal Robert Mulas about the benefits that the National Partnerships Program has delivered Fairfield High School”. Mr. Payne further added.

“You don’t get to meet a Prime Minister that often and I was proud to share that experience with some of the beneficiaries of the FDN program” FDN Chair Corey Payne commented.

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FDN announces THREE scholarship recipients

Jan 25, 2013   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Future Direction Network (FDN) is proud and excited to announce three scholarship recipients for its inaugural scholarship. After reviewing many applications, the FDN Board experienced difficulty deciding on a recipient. This warranted the award of three scholarships, in lieu of the one scholarship planned for 2013.

FDN will be offering three recipients a 3-year scholarship worth $6,000 per annum commencing in 2013. The scholarship recipient will also be paired with a mentor to help support, encourage and guide the student through their studies.

The three winners are:

  • Lauren Pearce, Macquarie Fields High School
  • Pita Siganisucu, LaSalle Catholic College Bankstown
  • Joseph Babana, Prairiewood High School

Lauren Pearce graduated from Macquarie Fields High School in 2012. Her principal interest is creative writing. Lauren aspires to write professionally, with an academic career in either English Literature or History, both lecturing and research. To achieve her goals, Lauren intends to study Literature/History at the University of Sydney. From Minto in South-West Sydney, she lives with her parents and brother. Due to an illness in the family, Lauren has faced significant pressure in balancing the need to study and support her family. She will be the first person in her family to attend university.

Pita Siganisucu graduated from LaSalle Catholic College Bankstown in 2012. From a Fijian background, Pita is an only child and the first in the family to go to university. He is interested in sports such as rugby and spending time with his family. Pita intends to complete a degree in Health Science at the University of Western Sydney, continuing to complete a Masters of Physiotherapy. He is interested in the discipline of Health Science, as Pita intends to help elderly and young people overcome injuries and better their lifestyle to live a longer and healthier life.

Joseph Babana graduated from Prairiewood High School in 2012. Of Assyrian heritage, Joseph lives in a single-income household with his mother and two sisters, plays for his local football team on weekends and works part-time at McDonalds to provide necessary income. Joseph aims to become a successful civil engineer. Intending to study engineering at the University of New South Wales, Joseph believes engineering allows him to use his skills with mathematics and science along with his love of problem solving and creating solutions that influence others in a positive way.

FDN would like to thank all applicants for participating. For future announcements of scholarships and news, please visit our website or ‘like’ us on Facebook.

FDN announce new Ambassador, Sydney Swan Mike Pike

Jan 19, 2013   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Future Direction Network today announce the appointment of Mr Mike Pyke as an FDN Ambassador.

It has been a momentous period for the Future Direction Network (FDN) — with the appointment of Dr Tim Soutphommasane as an Ambassador, FDN Chairman Corey Payne being awarded the 2013 NSW Young Australian of the year, as well as the inaugural FDN Scholarship recipient to be announced in the near future.

Mr Pyke will be joining the ranks of Dr Soutpommasane, as well as Channel Seven news anchor Chris Bath and Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen as an FDN Ambassador. Besides current FDN Chairman – Corey Payne, Mr Pyke is the first professional sportsperson to serve as an FDN Ambassador.

Pyke is best known for his role as a senior member of the Sydney Swans Football Club and recently played a starring role for the club in their 2012 AFL premiership victory. Only five years ago, Mike was representing Canada as a Rugby Union international.

Although professional AFL football has become increasingly demanding on its players, Mr Pyke is currently completing a Master of Commerce at the University of Sydney, double majoring in Finance and Economics respectively. He attends class and finds time to complete study during weeknights.

Mr Pyke also holds an internship at Citi Bank in Sydney where he is able to apply his studies in a more functional fashion.

Commenting on his appointment as an FDN Ambassador, Mr Pyke felt resonance with the aim of FDN. “I was drawn to FDN because I consider education to be essential in achieving one’s goals in the pursuit of a happy and balanced life. I believe the desire to learn should not be obstructed by economic barriers and that FDN provides a much needed service to young adults on their path to higher education.”

FDN Chairman Corey Payne expressed his admiration in FDN’s appointment. “We want young people to draw inspiration from all sorts of successful people. Being a successful sportsperson does not preclude one from attending university. Mr Pyke demonstrates that a sporting career and academic achievement are not exclusive to one another. This is a key message we would like to get to students.”

FDN Chairman Corey Payne Speaks at USYD E12 Event

Jan 10, 2013   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Following from the success of FDN’s Information evening held with the University of Sydney, FDN Chairman Corey Payne attended the Early Offer Year 12 (E12) welcome event held at the University, encouraging students to make the most of everything university life has to offer.

Announced by the University in 2012 to assist students who have been financially disadvantaged during their time at school, the scheme enables school principals to nominate up to 10 students they believe show the potential to succeed at the University of Sydney. The principals’ recommendations are then considered by a select panel from the University, which may also interview applicants for some courses.

According to Annette Cairnduff, Director of Social Inclusion at the University, successful students come from all walks of life and educational circumstances. “Our E12 scheme is an exciting step forward because it allows us to consider a student’s whole set of circumstances, rather than just their final school results,” she says.

“Our impressive group of E12 students for 2013 have shown motivation and success in their studies, interest and engagement in particular areas of study, leadership, and other skills and achievements that will support them throughout their time at the University of Sydney and beyond.”

The full University press release can be read here.


FDN Presents Awards at Fairfield High School (18 December 2012)

Dec 21, 2012   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

For helping FDN with promotional and media content, the Board recognised three students from Fairfield High School – Paulo Greaves, Elaine Yeo and Leanne Trinh – with a certificate of appreciation at their end-of-year presentation on Wednesday, 18 December.

FDN Director Ninus Kanna presented the awards to the recipients, who had received quite a number of academic and civic awards that day!

In his presenting speech, Ninus talked about the ‘secret’ of the world – knowledge. “The secret is, no matter what sort of Government you live under, no matter what suburb you live in, no matter how rich or poor your family might be, the secret of the world, the key that unlocks the world, is knowledge. Knowledge is power.”

FDN wishes best of luck to all award recipients.


Ninus Kanna presents award to Elaine Yeo


Paulo Greaves


Leanne Trinh


FDN Chairman Corey Payne speaks at Smith Family IMPACT Celebration (15th December 2012)

Dec 21, 2012   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Sydney’s Luna Park was the venue chosen for this year’s Smith Family IMPACT Celebration.

Participants from the program travelled with their families from suburbs including Bidwell, Shalvey and Macquarie Fields to celebrate their successful engagement in the Smith Family’s IMPACT program.

The event focussed on celebrating the student’s achievements over the second year of IMPACT, for 40 Mount Druitt students.  Students have engaged in a weekly after school club (participating in sports/arts/music and career planning activities), attended an Outward Bound Camp, interacted with numerous Inspirational Speakers and more recently attended a one day ‘Polish’ event to learn good communication skills and job readiness techniques (learning to put on a tie)!

Former IMPACT participant Karim provided light entertainment by showcasing his musical skills and two boys who took part in the Outward Bound Camp spoke about their experiences and the challenges they faced during the camp.

“The aim of my presentation was to reinforce to the kids that it doesn’t matter where you come from or whether Mum or Dad went to university, a bit of hard work and dedication can take you a long way” Mr Payne stated.

“I hope that the students through my presentation were able to see that anything is possible and that they need to dream big and not let anyone tell them what they can’t do. Life is not about proving others wrong but about proving yourself right and I believe all young people are capable of greatness with a bit of support and self belief” FDN Chairman Corey Payne explained.

Click here to view Corey’s Smith Family presentation


Future Direction Network Offers Inaugural Scholarship

Dec 18, 2012   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

The Future Direction Network is pleased to announce that applications for its inaugural scholarship are now open.

FDN Chairman Corey Payne noted that “we are extremely excited to be in this fantastic position of being able to offer our first ever scholarship that will undoubtedly help a student continue their studies at university and move closer to their academic potential”.

Students living in the western suburbs of Sydney now have a greater incentive to continue their studies post high school and engage in university study.

Future Direction Network will be offering a 3 year scholarship worth $6,000 per annum commencing in 2013. The scholarship recipient will also be paired with a mentor to help support, encourage and guide the student through their studies.

Students are encouraged to apply online at and state their case as to why they should be awarded the inaugural FDN scholarship.

Applicants must live in South West Sydney and have completed their HSC at a high school located in South West Sydney.

Applications close on the 7th of January 2013 with the inaugural recipient being named on Wednesday the 16th of January 2013.

Click here to apply now!