Demi Markobotsaris: Meet the Year 12 student leader invited to SA’s Government House

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It is not often that Year 12 students visit the Government House and get to have a chat with the Governor herself but Parafield Gardens High School student, Demi Markobotsaris did and says this tradition needs to continue.

“It was a great experience. Governor Frances Adamson was very nice. My co-captain and myself got to have a chat with her personally. We were part of the few people that did,” the Greek Australian student told The Greek Herald

For almost 30 years two Year 12 student leaders nominated from public, independent and catholic schools across the state are invited to attend a reception hosted by the South Australian Governor.

“The event aims to promote a positive message about the value of education, while also acknowledging and celebrating year 12 student leaders…Feedback received year after year is that the reception is a highlight for the students who attend,” a Department for Education spokesperson said. 

But apart from representing her school Demi says this tradition holds a great importance for female student leaders and those from with a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

“As far as I know, there has never been a female Year 12 student leader of Greek background at Parafield Gardens High School. I felt empowered being there,” Demi said.

 “Sometimes we want to make sure that the needs of other communities are being met and we forget that people from established communities like Greeks and Italians still have needs.”

Demi explains that although events like this are a great opportunity to meet people of influence and start a conversation but she would like to have a more thorough chat on the challenges first- generation migrants continue to face in their daily lives.

“Some, can be really impatient with people whose first language is not English and I see that by the way they treat older migrants like my own grandmother even in Greek populated areas like Torrensville,” Demi said.

Influenced by the values instilled to her by her family and her own understanding of diversity Demi says she treats her peers with respect.

“My upbringing has made me a lot more aware and understanding of how some cultures do face a lot of discrimination. It’s something that I’ve witnessed a lot of people have to combat. It’s not a nice feeling to have to justify your values, your beliefs, your religion and culture and try to normalize it.”

Passionate about giving back to the community Demi aspires to study nursing.

“Healthcare has been a very big thing in my family. My mum is a carer, and she takes a lot of pride in her work. One of my cousins, who is of Indigenous Australian background, is a nurse and I admire how she makes Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander feel welcome in a hospital setting,” she said.

“I want to do the same for the Greek community.”

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