Willunga's Mathieu Patton and Tilly Symonds represent SA in Canberra

MOTIVATED YOUTH: Tatachilla Lutheran College students Mathieu Patton and Tilly Symonds with Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie. Photo: Supplied.
MOTIVATED YOUTH: Tatachilla Lutheran College students Mathieu Patton and Tilly Symonds with Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie. Photo: Supplied.

Over intense debate in Canberra, aspiring diplomats Mathieu Patton and Tilly Symonds from Willunga came face to face with their potential futures.

The Tatachilla Lutheran College students visited the nation’s capital to represent South Australia in a national Evatt United Nations-style diplomacy competition last month.

The competition was for students in years nine to 12 and took the form of a mock session of the UN Security Council and Mathieu and Tilly were one of just two SA teams to make the finals.

After Tatachilla College advised the pair it would covered half of the travel and accommodation costs but the students were expected to raise the rest, Mathieu and Tilly approached Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie for support.

In line with her passion for giving local youth a voice, Ms Sharkie offered them $300 in sponsorship.

After speaking with the students, Ms Sharkie said it was clear they both learned so much from their time with UN Youth Australia.

“They have come away from the competition inspired to pursue their career ambitions in international relations,” she said.

“I was pleased to support Mathieu and Tilly and delighted when they took up my invitation to visit me in Parliament House and attend question time.”

Tilly, who is studying international relations next year in order to pursue a career in diplomacy, said competing in the Evatt was enormously rewarding.

“We’ve been able to develop the skills we need for the careers we are both aiming for in international relations,” she said.

Mathieu has applied to study law and international relations next year and also hopes to work in foreign affairs or international law.

“It was an incredible week and we certainly met some strong debaters from whom I certainly learned a great deal,” he said.

“The debating was very competitive and very intense and we got to meet a lot of interesting students who we shared many similar life experiences with and I’m sure we’ll meet them later in our working lives.

“It was also a great opportunity to see all the important national sites.”

We’ve been able to develop the skills we need for the careers we are both aiming for in international relations... it was a great opportunity

Mathieu Patton