Finley High School student Megan Marsden spent two days last week having an input into education system development as part of a Department of Education program.
The 16 year-old was selected for the 'Secretary for a Day' program, which was held in Sydney on Monday and Tuesday last week.
Over the course of the two days, Megan took part in workshops and forum discussions, sharing her insights and experiences and connecting with like-minded students.
"A students voice is so important and in Sydney we had the opportunity to voice what we think our schools need, especially for rural areas," Megan said.
"The people making the big decisions often haven’t lived in these communities so I thought it would be a really important thing for someone like myself to go up there and voice their opinion of the Riverina."
Megan said she was humbled to have been selected to take part in the program, and to help build her leadership skills.
"It was such a good opportunity. The people there were so fantastic.
"The activities that we went through and all the workshops were aimed at our abilities to express our student voice."
Each student was asked to submit a list of questions before the program, with five then selected to be asked of Department of Education secretary Mark Scott.
Megan's question - Is the department looking at ways to fund extension classes especially for the senior years so that these classes can run in small schools in the same way that they do in much bigger schools, so rural and remote students are not facing more challenges then those in larger city areas? - was chosen.
"He (Mark Scott) explained how the department’s now looking to have rural students considered more in the needs-based funding which is how they fund the schools," she explained.
"He explained it quite well, saying they were already looking at it and gave an example comparing a bigger school of 1800 students to our school, expressing why it was an issue (for rural students) to everyone else in the room.
"That's how they came to the conclusion with how they’re going to fund rural schools."
Megan said over the two days in Sydney she realised how fortunate she is to be in a school which recognises each student.
"I was saying that in our school there isn't a student that is not known by at least one teacher," she said.
"Other students were saying that even though they’re high achieving, they felt like a lot of teachers from their school still didn’t know them. So even more so, the lower achieving students really fly under the radar."
The program coincided with Education Week, which this year had the theme 'Every student, every voice’.