Featured speakers at the one day event included Mars One Astronaut Candidate, Josh Richards, Founder of Thankyou, Daniel Flynn, Youth Advocate Jules Allen, and Innovation Psychologist, Dr Amantha Imber. 

Each speaker brought their unique life experience to the platform, linked to the common theme to master the little things through stories of determination, servant leadership and creativity. The speakers instilled the message that despite circumstances or position, anyone could be a leader and make an impact on the world around them.

Julie Holloway, a Year 10 coordinator at Colac Secondary College said “we are based in the country but always seek to give our students opportunities to broaden their horizons. Our students find it valuable to gain ambition and insight from the stories of leaders from a variety of fields".

Jeremy O’Brien, a Year 12 coordinator at Yarrawonga P-12 College said “the speakers are always engaging and not only share stories of success, but stories of failures too".

In the session breaks students contributed to the 10,000 Ideas video clip, an opportunity for students to contemplate a problem, consider possibilities and then commit to a form of action. Students responded to ‘I always wondered why… Then I realised… So, one little thing I’ll do is…’ The 10,000 Ideas video clip can be viewed here.

A new initiative of the Halogen Foundation is Australia’s Team Leadership Award for Students (ATLAS), sponsored by CPA Australia.

The national award was created to formally recognise groups of secondary students who have created a significant impact as a team, through their ideas, influence, involvement and insight. Nominees are shortlisted by a panel of high profile Australian leaders including yachtswoman Jessica Watson and leading surgeon Dr Fiona Wood.

Secondary students from Maryborough Education Centre in Victoria were recognised as the 2015 ATLAS recipients. A group of students at this school undertook a project to raise awareness of Scleroderma, a rare disease one of their students, Peppa Rasmussen-Breitinger, currently lives with.  

Peppa and her friends engaged the wider school community to educate others and raise money to support research for Scleroderma.

Their efforts included baking and selling polka dot themed cupcakes, raffles, making and selling hand-made polka dot ribbon pins, posters and donation tins. They raised $10,000 for the Scleroderma Foundation.

David Sutton, the principal of Maryborough Education Centre,  said “we are overjoyed at the acknowledgment the ATLAS Award has given to the Polka dots for Peppa crew and to our entire school community, it gives others a glimpse into something we see every school day- young people working together to support one another. We could not be more proud of this".

The students will receive a leadership masterclass with award judge Alex Malley, Chief Executive of CPA Australia who said “this winning project was both courageous and innovative; I was very impressed by their proactive spirit.” 

A mix of universities, volunteer organisations, charities, and career advisors featured at the coinciding expo, which students could checkout while teachers mingled at the catered morning tea.

Samantha Skinner, general manager at the Halogen Foundation said “Many young people believe they need to do something grand to make an impact. We want to inspire young people with the knowledge that the little things matter in enabling them to reach their full potential.”

More than 6000 students will participate on the events in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide over the coming months.